Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

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In this Dickensian tale Jaffy, a fearless street urchin, is almost eaten by a Bengal tiger. Saved by the titular Jamrach, a jovial dealer in exotic animals who, impressed by his fearlessnes, hires him as a trainer, Jaffy meets slick talking Tim, another Jamrach protege, and his twin sister Ishbel. Tim and Jaffy become best friends. Which does not mean that their relationship is uncomplicated. The fact that Jaffy's heart is captured by Ishbel makes that a given. This beautifully written tale is populated with a host of curious, well-drawn characters, a vivid late-19th-century background and plenty of mystery. A whaling expedition hosts a quest to acquire a quasi-mythical (Komodo) dragon. And with its capture adventure (and escape) turns to survival. Characters come of age under horrifying circumstances. Love is lost. And found. A remarkable tale. Check Our Catalog

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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