Newbery Medalist Creech’s slim, understated story about a young childless couple who find a small boy of indeterminate age asleep on their farmhouse porch one morning has a fablelike quality. Accompanied only by a note reading, “Plees taik kair of Jacob. He is a god good boy. Wil be bak wen we can,” the boy doesn’t speak, but he overflows with creative gifts and has an affinity for communicating with animals. The novel is set in a rural area, where town means a general store, a schoolhouse, and a sheriff’s office, and in an earlier era—telephones aren’t commonplace, but trucks, cars, and trailers are standard. Creech’s quiet tale movingly follows Marta and John’s evolution from puzzlement over Jacob’s mysterious appearance to a deepening love for him and a fear that somebody will return to claim him. While the target audience may not find the novel’s point of view, which is focused entirely on the adult couple, initially compelling, the suspense surrounding Jacob’s origins and his future makes it a page-turner for readers of any age. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013 Release date: 09/01/2013 Genre: Children's
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