Cover image for My cousin's keeper
Title:
My cousin's keeper
Author:
French, Simon, 1957- , author.
Uniform Title:
Other brother.
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2014.

©2012
Physical Description:
234 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
"Eleven-year-old Kieran wants to be part of the 'in' group at school. He wants to be on the soccer team. He wants to fit in. But then his weird cousin Bon turns up, both at school and at home. Bon knows nothing about fitting in, with his long blond braid, babyish hand-knit hat, and funny, precise voice. Bon doesn't play sports, and he likes to draw imaginary maps with stories about 'Bon the Crusader' and 'Kieran the Brave.' He's an easy target for teasing, and Kieran has little patience for him. Even more irritating, Bon's only friend is the other new kid, a cool girl named Julia who wears cowboy boots and has a confidence that fascinates Kieran. What could she and Bon possibly have in common? With unflinching honesty, My Cousin's Keeper takes on childhood jealousy, family secrets, and unexpected kindness."--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780763662790
Format :
Book

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Audubon Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

When the odd new kid at school turns out to be his cousin, Kieran feels embarrassed and resentful. But how far will he let the bullying go?

Eleven-year-old Kieran wants to be part of the "in" group at school. He wants to be on the soccer team. He wants to fit in. But then his weird cousin Bon turns up, both at school and at home. Bon knows nothing about fitting in, with his long blond braid, babyish hand-knit hat, and funny, precise voice. Bon doesn't play sports, and he likes to draw imaginary maps with stories about "Bon the Crusader" and "Kieran the Brave." He's an easy target for teasing, and Kieran has little patience for him. Even more irritating, Bon's only friend is the other new kid, a cool girl named Julia who wears cowboy boots and has a confidence that fascinates Kieran. What could she and Bon possibly have in common? With unflinching honesty, My Cousin's Keeper takes on childhood jealousy, family secrets, and unexpected kindness.


Author Notes

Simon French was born and raised in Australia. He wrote his first novel while still in high school. He has written several novels and picture books, published in Australia and overseas. His work is praised by critics and has won several awards, including the 1987 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for All We Know. Change the Locks was an Honour Book in 1992. His most recent novel, Where in the World, won the 2003 NSW Premier¿s Literary Award for Children¿s Literature, and was shortlisted for the 2003 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, long listed for the 2003 Guardian Children¿s Fiction Prize and nominated to the IBBY Honour List in 2004.

In 2015 his title Other Brother was one of four books by Australian authors selected for the United States Board of Books for Young People (USBBY) list of Outstanding International Books for children and young adults.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Eleven-year-old Kieran is not happy when his cousin Bon comes to stay with his family while Bon's mentally ill mother seeks to stabilize her life. Since both boys are the same age, his parents want Kieran to look out for Bon at school, but Bon's long braid, ratty clothes, and peculiar voice make him a target for the same kids with whom Kieran desperately wants to become friends. Meanwhile, Bon gets all the attention at home. Kieran has a different problem with another new kid, Julia: Kieran likes her, but she is nicer to Bon and critical of Kieran's meanness. French avoids moralizing as Kieran struggles over what kind of person he wants to be, portraying both boys with equal sensitivity and giving Kieran understandable motivations. A minor mystery involving Julia's family situation is resolved nicely. This contemporary Australian import deals with peer pressure in a straightforward and sincere way, making it a good choice for middle-grade discussion.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

There's a vaguely disturbing undercurrent in French's (Where in the World) perceptive book about 11-year-old Kieran and his strange cousin, Bon, who briefly appears in his life when both boys are nine-just long enough to steal two of Kieran's favorite toys. Two years later, to Kieran's dismay, Bon's peripatetic mother, who struggles with mental and emotional problems, settles him with Kieran's family, and in his school. Bon's appearance, demeanor, and unusual interests make him a target for bullying, and Kieran, striving to be popular, does nothing to dissuade the bullies, even uneasily participating in some of the activities. His efforts to distance himself from his cousin while winning favor with another newcomer, the mysterious and confident Julia, are believably depicted, as are Kieran's parents' attempts to cope with the difficult relationship between the boys. The story takes on a quiet emotional power as the boys slowly forge a connection, and although the nature of Bon's mother's instability is never made completely clear, Julia's mystery is cleanly resolved in a way that places the novel firmly in contemporary times. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old Kieran can't catch a break. He has just begun to make inroads with the popular crowd at school when his conspicuously odd cousin, Bon, moves into town. Having lived a vagabond life, Bon is a virtual stranger to Kieran, but his appearance speaks volumes: he has long, braided hair, talks in a clipped fashion, and dresses in clothes for a much younger child. Kieran wants nothing to do with him and is horrified when Bon enrolls in his school. To make matters worse, Bon has become best friends with the new girl, Julia, on whom Kieran has a mad crush. Burdened with a negligent and unreliable mother, Bon becomes more and more dependent on Kieran's family. The situation becomes volatile as the protagonist begins to feel torn between an ever-growing compassion for his cousin and his strong desire to be popular. French adeptly avoids being preachy when it comes to the topics of bullying and peer pressure. He paints a sympathetic portrait of both boys and lets readers draw their own conclusions. The mystery of Julia and her own familial troubles adds a level of intrigue, and while the ending feels a bit drawn out, this is a solid choice for middle-grade readers.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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