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A Perfect Friend [Paperback]

By Reynolds Price (Author)
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Item Number 150183  
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Item description for A Perfect Friend by Reynolds Price...

Still grieving over the death of his mother, eleven-year-old Ben finds solace in the special relationship he forms with an elephant in a visiting circus.

Publishers Description
A Moving Fable For Readers Of All Ages -- From National Book Critics Circle Award-Winning Author Reynolds Price Ben Barks loved elephants long before he'd seen one. He sometimes wondered how that love started.... It's been a whole year since Ben's mother died, and nothing has soothed his broken heart -- except thinking about elephants, those magnificent creatures his mother loved too. Imagining their awesome grace always calms him in a way that his sad father and closest friends never can. When a one-ring circus comes to Ben's small town, he discovers Sala, an elephant who survived a wicked trainer's abuses. And soon, their powerful bond becomes a miraculous healer -- and gives Ben renewed hope for the future.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Scribner
Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.06" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2002
Publisher   Scribner
Age  9-12
ISBN  074322521X  
ISBN13  9780743225212  

Availability  0 units.

More About Reynolds Price

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his "Collected Stories". "A Long and Happy Life" was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. "Kate Vaiden" was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. "The Good Priest's Son" in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Reynolds Price lived in Durham, in the state of North Carolina. Reynolds Price was born in 1933 and died in 2011.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Animals > Elephants > Fiction
2Books > Subjects > Children > Literature
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Price, Reynolds
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Perfect Friend?

Delightful Surprise  Feb 12, 2008
I had just finished reading "Water for Elephants."Water for Elephants: A Novel I decided to search for books by Reynolds Price at my local library. One book which my library has that I had never heard of was "A Perfect Friend," a children's chapter book. I checked it out, read it, then bought it for a friend who loves elephants. A Perfect Friend Both books are set in the 1930's and both focus on small circuses touring small towns. I learned a few things in "A Perfect Friend" that I hadn't learned in the more recent book. One of these was the fact that all elephants, male and female, are called bulls by those in the circus -- or at least in the 1930's they were. I am grateful for the serendipity that lead me to Price's book. I recommend both highly. Both are beautifully written. The protagonist in Price's book is 11. I checked the book's readability and an average reader at age 11 ought to be able to read it, or an advanced reader at a younger age. For sure, the tale and message appeal to all ages. Barbara Morgan
Childhood and Early Sorrow  Jun 18, 2002
In this sweet children's story, Reynolds Price tackles one of life's most difficult subjects, a youngster's loss of a parent. Ben, who is eleven, after the death of his mother is left alone with only his father and a very old dog Hilda for company. And a couple of friends. "He was the only boy in school who had a girl for his best friend, and he could usually smile at Robin's [his cousin] joking. After his mother died, though, Ben's outlook changed; and he went on feeling sad for a long time." Rather than attempt to answer the unaswerable, Mr. Price lets Ben tell his story. And a fine and moving story it is. In this marvelous little tale, Ben prays for an elephant, the animal his mother has taught him to draw. "See, there's really no question at all that elephants are better than people. They always take care of their young, they never kill anything unless they have to, and they talk to each other over miles of distance in voices so deep we can't even hear them." This lad may be onto something here in my favorite passage from the story.

The characters are all well drawn and completely believable-- from Ben's friend Dunk to his father who sometimes handles his own grief by getting drunk. Ater all, malt may do more than Milton cab to justify God's ways. . . Ben's grief for his mother and loneliness are palpable. The story, however, never becomes maudlin. Ben copes and survives; and there is not a "grief counselor" within a thousand miles.

No one writing today is better with words than Mr. Price. His evocative, concise language is both beautiful and moving. I bet children love this story. This adult certainly did.

An unusual story about a healing bond  Mar 12, 2001
It's been a year since Ben's mother died, but he misses her daily. His only consolation is his love for elephants, which his mother loved too - his involvement in the life of a special elephant who has been a survivor brings a bond to both which can heal in this unusual story.

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