Swallow’s Dance by Wendy Orr. Pajama Press, 2018. ISBN 9781772780628
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Historical fiction
What did you like about the book? Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient! Leira, a daughter of the Swallow Clan, is enjoying a ritual outing when an earthquake devastates her island of Santorini. Set during the Bronze Age, the story shows that migration has been a constant since time began, and that it has never been easy to lose your home and those whom you love and start over in a new place, in this case, Crete. Leira narrates, in prose and alternating poetry, the catastrophe and the emotional toll it takes on her and her family. Lots of animal sacrifice, daily ritual worship of the gods, and intense heartbreak for a young person unused to any hardship. The poetic interludes do a good job of describing the emotional journey. The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I found it relentlessly depressing.
To whom would you recommend this book? Definitely offer this to fans of Orr’s Dragonfly Song and to fans of historical fiction, ages 10-14.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle schools, and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Children’s fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Maybe
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: October 9, 2018