Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wild Boy (Mary Losure)

I have been curious about this book for a long time. I learned about it after hearing the illustrator, Timothy Basil Ering, speak at the Kaleidoscope conference in November 2012. He was an amazing speaker (I wish I had a link to add. I can't believe I didn't blog about that amazing conference!)

Wild Boy is the story of the Savage of Aveyron. He was a boy that was found living alone in the wild. As we humans like to do, people wanted to assimilate him. He was captured and studied and taught for years. Apparently the scientist who studied him, Dr. Itard, was part of the inspiration for Maria Montessori's work. When Victor, the name the Wild Boy was later known by, was an adult, he lived near the boyhood home of Victor Hugo. Some have mused that perhaps Victor was the inspiration for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Some think that he might have been autistic. There is so real conclusion on that either.

The book is quite interesting, and in some ways, kind of sad. As Dr. Itard said,  "People looked at the wild boy without really seeing him, passed judgment on him without knowing him, and after that [when he left the home for deaf children], they spoke no more about him."

He died when he was about 40, of unknown causes. The only reason it was even known he died was of a few lines that Dr Itard wrote, that were published when he died.

Mary Losure writes some interesting books. By chance, a year ago, I read another one of her books: The Fairy Ring. I have never forgotten that book. Fascinating book! And, so is this one.

July 31 Update: Here is a review by Horn Book Reviews.

Here is a picture of Mary Losure that I found online. It's just as I imagined she'd look like. I'd love to spend an hour or so over a lovely drink discussing her books with her!

...and just because I love Timony Basil Ering, here are some of his unforgettable illustrations from this book:

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