cover image Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illus. by Scott Magoon. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9604-7

These married authors, who each lost legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and have a service dog named Rescue, affectingly weave fact and fiction in their debut book. Jessica, a fictional child, is a hospital patient recovering from an unspecified injury; “both of her legs were badly hurt,” and her left leg was amputated. While she learns to walk with a prosthetic leg (though she’s “frustrated and sad about the things she still couldn’t do”), a frisky black Lab is being trained as a service dog nearby. Jessica’s spirits improve measurably once she adopts Rescue, and, after her right leg is removed in a second surgery, the intuitive, intelligent dog helps Jessica adjust to her new life, emotionally and physically. Kensky and Downes streamline their character’s medical ordeal and her process of learning to walk again, highlighting the moments of quiet victory as well as those of despair. Magoon’s (I Have a Balloon) realistic digital illustrations poignantly capture these experiences, offering images of the girl and dog that emphasize the fact that theirs is a mutual rescue. The artist, who like the authors is a Boston resident, provides affectionate, sunlit glimpses of that city—including one featuring a mother duck swimming with her ducklings. Ages 5–9. [em]Authors’ agent: Clelia Gore, Martin Literary Management. (Apr.) [/em]