Butler, Susan. The Hermit Thrush Sings. Dorling Kindersley, 1999. ISBN 0-789-42489-4. $16.95. 28 pp. A 5+ FI Reviewed by Annette Van Wagenen Leora’s webbed hand has always marked her as different. As a resident in her stepmother’s household in Village 15, she is in constant fear of being sent to the Institute,” a place for “detectives.” Yet her strange hand allows her to draw pictures with haunting power. The villagers are not allowed to go past the locked gates of the village. Leora feels that life for her might be different out there. One day, Wilfret, a cruel relative of the family, captures a baby birmba, a supposedly fierce mutated species of animals. He plans to take it to the Rulers for study and evil purposes. When Leora dares to free the baby birmba, a creature that she has been taught to fear, her life begins to change. This act of kindness sets in motion unforgettable experiences. She sets off into the forbidden Outside on a quest that takes her on an adventure of excitement, but extreme danger. This book is a definite page-turner until the very end of the story. It is filled with warmth, friendship, hostility, and adversity. Its chilling tale comes to an exciting climax in the search for family belonging.”
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