The Silent Boy
Written by Lois Lowry
Reviewed by Grace M (age 10)
The Silent Boy is a wonderful book that allows you to peek into the early twentieth century, hardships and joys. Katy Thatcher is the daughter of the wealthy Doctor Thatcher and dreams of one day becoming a doctor herself. When going with her father to the Stoltz Farm to pick up the new hired girl, Peggy Stoltz, she sees a mysterious face in the window-- it's Peggy's younger brother Jacob; the silent boy. Katy encounters Jacob several times afterward and develops a mysterious friendship with this boy who doesn't talk but is extremely good with animals and imitates sounds he hears. This book has a colorful cast of characters including Nellie, Peggy's loud and fun older sister, the hired girl at the Thatcher's next-door neighbors, the Bishops. Another one is Austin Bishop, Katy's best friend with a wonderful personality, and of course, Katy and Jacob. But something has gone awry in this happy atmosphere and can Katy save Jacob from his fate set by this misbalance?
I really liked this book. This is because it has the perfect balance of realistic historical-fiction and the wonderful story line of a great fiction novel. It was intriguing and suspenseful with surprises, but yet it all flowed smoothly along. It's a "flashlight-under-the-covers-at-midnight-book." You just don't want to put it down. Secondly, I found the character of Jacob very interesting. This is because although he is silent and "touched in the head," you feel that he has this type of intelligence beyond us. You bond with him and understand that even though he's different he has a deeper understanding of life than any of the other characters in the story. Thirdly, although various characters in the story changed in subtle or very apparent ways I think that Katy changed the most. She became more aware of the world's secrets that have been around her forever, just waiting to be discovered. She became more grown up and more mature. Also it seemed like through Jacob, she too got a deeper understanding of life. Lastly, I believe this book is greatly like other novels by this author; Lois Lowry. A couple of her other novels; The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger are also about preteens or teens getting a greater understanding of life and growing up in their minds. In The Silent Boy, Katy grows up and understands life more.
The Silent Boy is a wonderful and skillful book that has you sucked into it's time and setting. For this reason, I would absolutely recommend this book to readers looking for a good book. But not all types of readers would thoroughly enjoy this book. The Silent Boy contains some mature content so I would not recommend it to anyone under fourth grade. But other than that I would highly recommend this book to any reader over fourth grade; no one is too old to read it.