Patricia MacLachlan, Author
Katherine Tegen Books/Harper-Collins Publishers, Fiction, June 2013
Suitable for Ages: 6-10
Themes: Grandmothers, Dogs, Animals, Family Relationships
Opening: This is a true story. The truest story ever. You may not believe it. Your loss. But it’s true. I have a witness.”
Synopsis: Robbie’s musician parents send him and his dog, Ellie, to spend the summer with his grandmother Maddy. Robbie’s parents are so absorbed with their music that he feels unnoticed. But, he can be himself with Maddy and her relaxed way of living. He loves listening to her stories about her adventures with animals in the woods, which no one else believes. Robbie is the only one who experiences Maddy’s gift with wild animals and how they trust her. Both Robbie and Ellie learn about the natural world through Maddy. And, Maddy shares a secret with Robbie about his mother that helps him understand his family dynamics and find “the truth of me.” With this information, Robbie finds the courage to make things right.
Why I like this book: This is a quiet book that celebrates family relationships and special gifts. Patricia MacLachlan has written a story that is realistic, special and begging to be explored. She has a gift for writing about families and this book is no exception. The characters are believable, the language is simple and easy for young readers, the narrative gentle and the plot engaging. Every family has its secrets and kids will curl up with this heartwarming and emotional story as they experience the magic with Robbie and Ellie. Patricia MacLachlan is a Newberry Medalist for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall. I reviewed her powerful 2013 picture book about grief and renewal, Snowflakes Fall, which was dedicated to the families of Newtown and Sandy Hook, CT.