cover image Loving Ben

Loving Ben

Elizabeth Laird. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29810-0

When Anna's baby brother is born at home, nothing seems right. Then her father explains that the baby is probably handicapped. Anna asks if he'll be able to do all the usual things: play, go to school, talk, laugh. ``He'll be able to laugh,'' the doctor says. ``Oh, yes, I'm sure he'll laugh.'' Thus begins Laird's first novel for young readers, a painful, moving account of Anna's relationships with her family and her world after Ben's birth. Ben is a hydrocephalic, and while Anna adores him, she also avoids mentioning what he's really like to her friends, afraid of their casual cruelty. How Anna and her family cope with life with--and then life without--Ben will be certain to move readers, in this praiseworthy addition to literature on the handicapped. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)