Jake is the youngest kid in a pretty big family. He has a large, close-knit gang of siblings and cool parents to spend his time with. His days are filled with music and laughter and love. During the warm months the kids spend all their time playing baseball, it’s a family obsession. When Jake’s brother Edward is born, nothing will ever be the same. Edward becomes Jake’s personal responsibility, one that he is honored to have. Jake teaches him all the important stuff: how to use the toilet, how to read, how to play baseball. Edward turns out to be the perfect kid. He’s a gifted pitcher with eyes that can focus with laser-like precision, master of the knuckleball, wise beyond his years, and he is most certainly destined for greatness. Jake’s story is memories of Edward and their idyllic childhood. When the family finds that they are expecting another child, Edward is overjoyed. He can’t wait to be a big brother too. When it seems like life couldn’t get any better, tragedy strikes. In an instant, Jake’s family is forced to deal with the most difficult time of their lives. Will they rise to the challenge?
This is a short novel and fast read by celebrated children’s novelist, Patricia MacLachlan, but it packs an emotional punch with straightforward storytelling that evokes the sense of wonder and raw emotion present in childhood memories. The language is simple and accessible. It’s a title that an elementary school student will have no problem understanding and an adult reader won’t feel like the author is talking down to her audience. This is a story about the importance of family relationships and dealing with grief. It is not a light read. I recommend this title for readers of all ages, elementary school to adult. However, I think that younger readers might need an adult on hand so they can talk about the ending. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say, this book is a real tearjerker.
Springville Road Library
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