Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-5-Ten-year-old Jake lives on a farm with his parents, siblings, and grandfather, Billy. The special bond between Jake and Billy causes the boy to believe that his grandfather will live forever. When Billy expresses an interest in seeing his old sod childhood home rebuilt, Jake is confused and reticent to learn how to help with the one thing his grandfather seems to want most. Yet when Billy becomes ill and must be hospitalized, the family members decide to fulfill his request and surprise him when he comes home. MacLachlan gracefully eases readers into the inevitability of life's natural cycles. She includes a mysterious "angel dog" (a stray) arriving on the scene and immediately latching on to Billy, seemingly sensing his coming death. In typical MacLachlan fashion, the strength of family is the springboard from which the plot takes form. Whether this book is used as bibliotherapy, as a read-aloud in the classroom, or for pure reader enjoyment, it will be a welcome addition to any collection.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Jake enjoys his daily walk around the family farm with Billy, his grandfather and kindred soul. As they stop by the mud-and-prairie-grass remnants of the soddy where Billy was born, he often remarks, I loved that sod house. One day he says, I miss that sod house, and finally, after Jake asks an idle question about cutting sod for bricks, Billy declares, You can build me a sod house. When Billy falls ill and is hospitalized, Jake overcomes his strong reluctance to build a soddy. His family pitches in and readies the little building for Billy's return. The more Jake remarks that 88-year-old Billy will live forever, the more astute readers can be that the end is near. Printed in large type with wide-spaced lines, the first-person story, with its short sentences and nuanced observations, focuses primarily on Billy's preparations for death, as told from Jake's point of view. Though its subject may limit its appeal, MacLachlan writes with clarity of purpose.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

With her signature spare precision, MacLachlan (Word After Word After Word) crafts a standout portrait of a child-grandparent relationship, set on a family farm. "Billy is eighty-eight years old, and I don't worry about him dying," says 10-year-old narrator Jake. "He will live forever. I know that." When irrepressible Billy nostalgically longs for a sod house, like the one he lived in as a child, MacLachlan skillfully stages Jake and the family's reaction to this wish. Jake initially balks, then researches how to create a sod house, enlisting the entire family for help after Billy falls ill. The narrative offers a strong sense of place and family, with touches of the miraculous, such as "angel dog" Lucy, who arrives unexpectedly, bonding with Billy, and cheering him. The cycles of birth and death persist on the farm and gently foreshadow the inevitable mortality of its patriarch. MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love. Ages 7-10. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-5-Ten-year-old Jake lives on a farm with his parents, siblings, and grandfather, Billy. The special bond between Jake and Billy causes the boy to believe that his grandfather will live forever. When Billy expresses an interest in seeing his old sod childhood home rebuilt, Jake is confused and reticent to learn how to help with the one thing his grandfather seems to want most. Yet when Billy becomes ill and must be hospitalized, the family members decide to fulfill his request and surprise him when he comes home. MacLachlan gracefully eases readers into the inevitability of life's natural cycles. She includes a mysterious "angel dog" (a stray) arriving on the scene and immediately latching on to Billy, seemingly sensing his coming death. In typical MacLachlan fashion, the strength of family is the springboard from which the plot takes form. Whether this book is used as bibliotherapy, as a read-aloud in the classroom, or for pure reader enjoyment, it will be a welcome addition to any collection.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Jake enjoys his daily walk around the family farm with Billy, his grandfather and kindred soul. As they stop by the mud-and-prairie-grass remnants of the soddy where Billy was born, he often remarks, I loved that sod house. One day he says, I miss that sod house, and finally, after Jake asks an idle question about cutting sod for bricks, Billy declares, You can build me a sod house. When Billy falls ill and is hospitalized, Jake overcomes his strong reluctance to build a soddy. His family pitches in and readies the little building for Billy's return. The more Jake remarks that 88-year-old Billy will live forever, the more astute readers can be that the end is near. Printed in large type with wide-spaced lines, the first-person story, with its short sentences and nuanced observations, focuses primarily on Billy's preparations for death, as told from Jake's point of view. Though its subject may limit its appeal, MacLachlan writes with clarity of purpose.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

With her signature spare precision, MacLachlan (Word After Word After Word) crafts a standout portrait of a child-grandparent relationship, set on a family farm. "Billy is eighty-eight years old, and I don't worry about him dying," says 10-year-old narrator Jake. "He will live forever. I know that." When irrepressible Billy nostalgically longs for a sod house, like the one he lived in as a child, MacLachlan skillfully stages Jake and the family's reaction to this wish. Jake initially balks, then researches how to create a sod house, enlisting the entire family for help after Billy falls ill. The narrative offers a strong sense of place and family, with touches of the miraculous, such as "angel dog" Lucy, who arrives unexpectedly, bonding with Billy, and cheering him. The cycles of birth and death persist on the farm and gently foreshadow the inevitable mortality of its patriarch. MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love. Ages 7-10. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.