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Dowd, Siobhan.
New York : David Fickling, 2008
ISBN 0385751699

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Fergus knows if he is caught, there will be big trouble.  But he also knows they need the money to live.  So he and his uncle are in the bogs before daybreak cutting peat.  He can not know how his life is about to change.  As he is digging, he discovers her -- a young girl preserved in the bog.  Can she possibly be from the Iron Age of years ago?  When the archaeologist from Dublin arrives to take over the investigation, Fergus learns much about his own life  as well as the little mummy he names Mel.  Set against the theme of the 1980s hunger strikes, readers will also learn about the troubled times Ireland.

Booktalk #2

Fergus is eighteen. He is a bright student and he wants to get into a university in England. That is the next step for him on his way to becoming a doctor. To take that step, Fergus must get high grades in the competitive Advanced-Level exams, which are much like our SAT and ACT exams.
Fergus lives in a dreary, run down, economically depressed little Northern Ireland town. Everyone scrambles to make a living, working more than one job or having some money-making scheme on the side. As the story of the bog child begins, Fergus accompanies his uncle on a little adventure to earn a little cash. They drive out of town before dawn. They cross through a military border check point into the Republic of Ireland and, after a long drive on unpaved roads in the hills, stop beside a huge peat cutting machine (referred to as a JCB). Dried peat moss is used as fuel in Ireland. It can easily be exchanged for cash. This peat belongs to someone, however. Fergus and his uncle are poaching. They must work quickly, leave before the JCB operators arrive to begin their dayís work, and smuggle the peat back through the boarder check point into Northern Ireland without being caught. Fergus and his uncle work down in the ditch dug by the JCB. One cuts small slabs of peat from the wall of the ditch with a narrow spade while the other places the slabs of peat in a sack. Something odd in the wall of the ditch attracts Fergusís attention. His heart leaps to his throat when he realizes it is the body of a girl. The JCB had cut very close, shearing away part of a leg as it did, and it left the body exposed to view. The machine operators must not have seen the body. What should Fergus and his uncle do? Was this a crime scene? How would they report this to the authorities without getting caught in their poaching? Who could the girl be?   (Rhode Island Teen Book Award nominee, 2010)

SUBJECTS:     Ireland -- History -- Fiction.
                        Political prisoners -- Fiction.
                        Bog bodies -- Fiction.
                        Family life -- Fiction.
                        Political violence -- Fiction.
                        Terrorism -- Fiction.

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