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Monday, October 21, 2013

Wild Boy

Most people hold a fascination for the stories about humans who have been raised in the wild and then introduced to civilized life. For example, Karen Hesse's The Music of Dolphins, about a young girl named Mila who was raised by dolphins, is one of the most popular books in our library. Mary Losure's latest book, Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron, is certain to intrigue readers as well. In it, she follows the life of the wild boy discovered in 1797 when he was about nine years old in the mountains of southern France. People from the village of Lacaune capture the boy (twice!). He was treated as a scientific specimen by some who believed there was a species of homo ferus or wild man. Others showered him with compassion, including a kind gardener, a lovely woman who perhaps became like a mother to him, and Dr. Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard, who tried to teach the boy to communicate and who believed the boy should be happy. This telling of the boy's life story is respectful and poignant, and the text is accompanied by charcoal sketches by Timothy Basil Ewing that convey the emotions the wild one was certain to have experienced. 

When he once escaped as a young adult, it is believed he made his way toward Notre Dame, unnoticed by the crowds around him, and eventually arrested by the police. This photo was taken from atop the cathedral.


  1. The Music of Dolphins is on my "Top List". Partly the subject, partly the character development with the use of language. This Wild Boy sounds fascinating. I'm glad he had a lovely woman & a kind gardener in his life. The scientists must have been so scary to him. PS Did YOU take that photo? Wow, what a view point!
    PS Appreciated your recent perceptive & kind notes...yes, drawing from that photo, good visual observation you have...But of course! Bien sûr!

  2. I loved this book as well, especially the way Mary Losure captured the boy's deep-seated longing for the fields and forests.

  3. I did take the photograph, Rita, from the top of Notre Dame after climbing the hundreds of stairs. Joyce, I felt that as well while reading her book. I also felt she took a complex story and told it well for the intermediate readers.