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Helicopter Man


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Approaches the big theme of schizophrenia in same accessible, engaging way as The Mysterious Case of the Dog in the Night Time tackled autism

About the Author

Elizabeth Fensham lives in Victoria, Australia.


Gr 6-9-As 12-year-old Pete's journal entries begin, he and his father are on the run, hiding out in an unused garden shed behind a house. Is a secret organization really after the man, or is Dad insane? Pete doesn't know-his life has been like this for years, hiding from helicopters and constantly moving. Staying firmly within the experience and understanding of a preteen, Fensham keeps the tension mounting as the boy goes back and forth between the tedium of his present life and his recollections of earlier days, when things were better. Only when he and his father are apprehended and Pete goes into foster care does he begin to see that other adults are not frightened all the time and that something is indeed wrong with his father. Australian slang is prominent, but the meaning of most of the words is clear in context. The pace slows occasionally in the book's first half, reflecting Pete's boredom in confinement, but brighter days are promised as he and his father finally begin to receive the care they deserve. Once through the initial strangeness, students will find this a worthy and thoughtful look at mental illness and the strength of family bonds.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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