The Fastest Boy in the World
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This issue’s cover illustration is from Elmer’s Weather by David McKee. Thanks to Andersen Press for their help with this July cover.
Elizabeth Laird is an old hand when it comes to writing stories in Third World settings, and this one is well up to her usual high standards. It tells the story of eleven-year-old Solomon, an Ethiopian village boy visiting his capital city Addis Ababa for the first time in the company of his grandfather. They are on a mission to recover a mysterious treasure that the grandfather refuses to discuss, and there are many adventures before the secret is finally out. But while the plot is good and pacey what stays in the memory are the various details Solomon picks out for himself when trying to make sense of the bustle of city life. An over-crowded bus journey is followed by a street robbery, but the boy wins through in the end while also starting off on his future career as a long-distance Olympic runner. The author’s knowledge of and love for Ethiopia shines through on every page of this charming and heartening story about a life British young readers will find so very different from their own.