From Merrimon Book Reviews
Betti on the High Wire
by Lisa Railsback
Babo is a child of war, a left-over child. At 10
years old, she has no parents, only the family she has created from the
other left-over kids on an abandoned circus camp. Babo takes care
of the left-over kids, telling them stories and looking after their
welfare while waiting for her parents to return. When a couple
from America comes to the rescue, rescuing is the last thing Babo
wants. When she arrives in America, even her name is lost
to a new unfamiliar name -- Betti. The language is not her own,
she misses those left behind and her new world is quite strange.
The new children in America
don't understand her. Even worse, they ridicule her for those
very things that are dear to her. When Betti makes a friend,
somehow the world seems different. As she gets to know her
family, the isolation she once felt becomes transformed.
Lisa Railsback's BETTI ON THE HIGH WIRE tells the story of an orphan
from a war-torn country by bringing the reader inside the emotional
world of Babo. Babo is just delightful! In a world where
war has destroyed her world, she reaches out to others and cares for
them and yet she too is a little girl too with all the emotional needs
of a young girl. Babo creates stories with vivid imagery which
draw a reader into her world. Once in America, she creates a
journal of new words and insights into America. The journal not
only shows the novelty and strangeness of her new home, but it also
adds a humorous insight as a world familiar to readers is seen anew
through the eyes of Betti.
The setting of the war-torn world looms behind Babo, in her own country
and in the interior setting of her mind and emotions. Instead of
inundating the young reader with violent imagery of war, Lisa Railsback
instead reaches into the emotional world of the characters -- and she
does so beautifully! BETTI ON THE HIGH WIRE does not
end on a simplistic or sappy note, but rather the ending truly warms
the heart precisely because the author maintains a perfect balance,
respecting her character and the fictional world she creates.
Make sure not to skip the author's note in the back of the book. BETTI
ON THE HIGH WIRE is quite simply a book that stirs the imagination --
young or adult. Beautiful!
Reviewed by Merrimon,
Merrimon Book Reviews