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by Audrey Couloumbis

Published by Random House, 2010
162 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-85630-3

Ages 7-11

Podcast featuring this book

With one slip on an icy patch Jake’s Mom breaks her leg, and that sudden, severe injury has an initially frightening impact the ten-year-old’s life. Jake’s father died years earlier, and he and his mother live alone. Her accident necessitates a hospital stay, and she’ll require assistance after she’s able to return home. A grandfather he barely knows arrives to lend a hand, and their next door neighbor, Mrs. Buttermark, proves a true friend as she helps Jake navigate his way through the first few difficult days. With her support, Jake and his reserved grandfather begin to develop a relationship, in this novel set during the Christmas season. When an aunt and his mother’s best friend also rally round, Jake realizes he has the support of a wonderful family comprised of a mix of relatives and friends. Despite an unfortunately confusing passage of time in the opening scene and the start of chapter one, this novel is a realistic exploration of how scary it can be for a child when something happens to that one adult who cares for you, and a warm, affirming look at an expansive idea of family. (MVL) ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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