Ethan's Voice ISBN: 9781407135502
Published by Scholastic, 2013
Eleven year old Ethan stopped talking when he was seven. At school he was teased and bullied about his lack of speech, and in desperation, his loving parents began home schooling him on their canal boat home. He has become shy and withdrawn because of all this, and he doesn't know why it has happened. When Polly comes into his life, things begin to change. Polly and her mum are living on a canal boat too because her mum and dad have separated, and Polly misses him terribly. She accepts Ethan exactly as he is and for the first time, he finds someone who is understanding and doesn't expect him to be other than himself. With her bright red coat and her cheerful self-possession, Polly is delighted with this new friendship, as is Ethan, and they are soon firm friends. As part of his home schooling, Ethan is keeping a computer diary of a trainee knight, and in his growing absorption with Polly, she becomes part of the diary, and the young knight is himself. Polly is able to tell Ethan about her sadness at the break-up of her family, and Ethan begins to trust Polly enough to tell her about some nightmares he is having that seem to prove that his dad did something long ago that may have been the catalyst for his muteness. The two children begin trying to find the truth of the matter, and when they do, Ethan realises that his dad is actually a hero. Polly and her mum leave to go back to Polly's dad, but with promises of the friendship to continue, and Ethan finds his voice. This lovely and quite moving book is very good on Ethan's feelings about his muteness and his inward looking life, and the sentences are short and not too demanding. Highly recommended.