Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is a bizarre and interesting novel. Zimbabwe, 2194: when General Matsika's three children wander venture out on their first solo trip outside of their restrictive home, they end up missing - kidnapped, just as the General had feared. So their parents' hire a trio of unusual detectives, the Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, each named for the mutation that gives them special abilities, to find them. The detectives are just one step behind the children, always catching up to them just as they are taken or escape to the next place.
It is a hard book to define - it's mostly science fiction, with traditional folk tales and some fantastical elements mixed in. I can see a lot of different younger readers enjoying this, as it really covers several genres. I found the plot to be a little repetitive, because of this constant cat-and-mouse chase, but I enjoyed getting to see the many different aspects of Farmer's Zimbabwe. Although I didn't feel compelled to pick the book up, when I was reading it, I found it quite engaging.
This book was a Newbery Honor awardee in 1995.
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