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Gulf
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Gr 6-9æThere was always something different about Andy. As a baby, he was a prolific dreamer with an unusual memory for detail. As a young child, his unique blend of curiosity, tenacity, and telepathy evolved into some unusual and unpredictable obsessions. Usually a happy-go-lucky boy, he periodically slipped into odd episodes, such as the time he saw a picture of a starving Ethiopian boy and fell into a trance. At 12, his behavior turns to the bizarre when Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. Speaking Arabic, sporting a soldier's haircut, and packing an air rifle, the boy literally takes on the identity of an Iraqi soldier. As the intensity of the Gulf War increases, he slips deeper and deeper into the person of Latif. Eventually hospitalized in a mental institution, he recovers only when the Iraqi boy is killed. Narrated by his brother, this short tale is powerful, inventive, and provocative. Westall brilliantly examines the madness of war and helps readers recognize the human face of the enemy. Characterization is intelligent, and the occasional British slang (defined in a simple glossary) creates a realistic atmosphere. YAs will find the plot interesting; teachers will find the book useful in dealing with many issues including war, guilt, and racism.æTim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT

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