Clay

by David Almond

Altar boys Davie and Geordie are asked by their priest to be kind to the new boy... read more

Altar boys Davie and Geordie are asked by their priest to be kind to the new boy in town, Stephen Rose, who has come to live with his religious-zealot aunt. Davie learns quickly that, in spite of his otherwise odd and off-putting behavior, Stephen is not only a gifted sculptor but can actually bring his clay models to life. Davie is quickly drawn in to such power. Raw, gritty, and thought-provoking, Almond’s narrative uses his young characters to ask questions about the power and responsibility of creation, and whether or not being a creator gives one the right to destroy. Using Catholic rituals and symbols and allusions to Old Testament golems, Almond asks dark questions about human nature, and the clay from which we are built. Davie’s especially sensitive art teacher provides an alternative, secular lens through which “creation” is explored. On one key night, the unsettling and even frightening climax of the novel, Almond subtlety changes tense, which plays further with notions of reality and imagination. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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