A novel with a forever touching spirit

Petey” is a young adult book which is about children born in the early 1900s with “deficiencies” and are thought to be idiots, morons or imbeciles; thusly they were put in a mental institution. In actuality, Petey’s condition was Cerebral Palsy, in brief terms, a brain muscle weakness.

     As Petey spends his life in institutions and as you read this book, you are made aware there is a person inside this body, trying with all his strength to communicate, with those who enter his world, however as Petey grows into a withered old man, bound to his wheelchair; he struggles to make the sounds that link to the words that relates to what he is saying so others would recognize.

     Along the way Petey had a few friends that came and went, but there was one who was a true friend that had a real understanding of his sounds. In this relationship, you will see how friendship and the human spirit can overcome physical and mental obstacles.

     Petey will not only have a special place in my heart, but also ‘his’ book will have its forever place in my home library – a recurring must read again and again.

By Janet Ravas

 

Editor’s note: Petey was published by Hyperion Books for Children in 1998 and written by Ben Mikaelsen. The novel, set in the 1920s and 1990s, is based on the real life story of cerebral palsy patient Clyde Cothern. “Petey” illustrates for children an understanding of people with disabilities, and helps them to discover what these people go through. Re-occurring themes include growth, understanding, wisdom and love that shows that beauty and friendship can be found inside the simplest things.

     Born December 8, 1952, author Ben Mikaelsen ( www.benmikaelsen.com) has won the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writer’s Golden Spur Award. In addition, his novels have won many state Reader’s Choice awards. These novels include Rescue Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown, Petey, Touching Spirit Bear, Red Midnight, Tree Girl and Ghost of Spirit Bear. His novels, Rescue Josh McGuire, Petey and Touching Spirit Bear have also been optioned for screen use.

     Ben’s articles and photos have appeared in numerous magazines around the world. His novels have been carried by Scholastic and Troll book fairs, and are recorded on unabridged audio tape with recorded books. Recently Ben was featured nationally on Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and also on German national TV.

     Ben lives in a log cabin near Bozeman, Montana, with a 750 pound black bear that he adopted and has raised for the last twenty five years. 




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