Scarlet Ibis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Gill Lewis'snovels not only look at the plight of animals, but at the humans who can both endanger and help them. This time her focus is very much on what the natural world can do for vulnerable humans. Scarlet looks after her severely depressed mother, and her autistic-spectrum brother Red, desperate to evade the intervention of their social worker. Red's life revolves around his collection of bird feathers, and the baby pigeon on his windowsill. A fire in their flat splits the family up, until Scarlet uses her ingenuity to reunite it.

At times heart-rending, this is a powerful story which skilfully gains our sympathy for those who are often misjudged, feared and derided by society.

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