The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean

David Almond’s The Savage is a unique book with a story within a story. Dave McKean’s illustrations help capture the savagery of the inner story.

After his father dies, Blue Baker starts to write a story. He is supposed to be writing about his feelings, but he decides to spin a tale about a savage who lives in a ruined church in his town. This savage runs wild, killing small animals for food, and even stealing desserts from houses and shops. While the savage is a savage, Blue shows that he does have a softer side, especially when he sees Blue’s younger sister. Blue does give a savage a very hateful side, though, when he encounters the school bully. What Blue does not know is that his story is real and has a twist to it that he could never have imagined on his own.

Blue is a character that many readers can easily relate to. He has problems in his life, but he also has good things, like his mom and sister. And even though he thinks he is not writing about his feelings after his father’s death, his story about the savage is all about his feelings, and even younger readers will understand that. The interesting thing that Almond does with Blue’s story is to writing it as a child would, with a crude font and misspelled words. McKean’s illustrations are only used for the savage story, also helping distinguish it from the narrative.

The Savage is a very interesting story that will make readers think. However, some of it may be a little too savage for readers younger than the recommended ages of 9 and up.

Book Stats:

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076363932X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763639327

To purchase a print copy of The Savage click here.

To visit the book contributors websites click here:
David Almond
Dave McKean

David Almond’s The Savage is a unique book with a story within a story. Dave McKean’s illustrations help capture the savagery of the inner story. After his father dies, Blue Baker starts to write a story. He is supposed to be writing about his feelings, but he decides to spin a tale about a savage …

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About Ricki

Ricki Marking-Camuto has been reviewing for Bitten by the Books since basically the beginning, and she is also one of the review editors. She will read almost anything, but here favorite genres include fantasy, horror, mystery, paranormal, and all YA and graphic novels/manga. Ricki was the Executive Managing Editor for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror for the now-defunct Chippewa Publishing, but she still freelances. She holds a BA in Theatre Management and MFA in Directing, which all relate to her day job. When not working or reading, she can be found with her husband and dog, or hanging out with her group of friends do all sorts of nerdy/geeky things.

2 comments

  1. Good Book. Makes u read on

  2. It’s only 80 pages? That’s kinda short for a 11-12 year old isnt it? (I’m 14 and i read 500+ page books.)