by Audrey Couloumbis

With one slip on an icy patch, Jake’s mom breaks her leg, and that sudden,... read more

With one slip on an icy patch, Jake’s mom breaks her leg, and that sudden, severe injury has an initially frightening impact on the ten-year-old’s life. Jake’s father died years earlier, and Jake 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 around, Jake realizes he has the support of a wonderful family comprised 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 him or her, and a warm, affirming look at an expansive idea of family. (Ages 7–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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