cover image This is Your Captain Speaking

This is Your Captain Speaking

Ivy Ruckman. Walker & Company, $14.95 (139pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-6734-9

Tom is clumsy, slightly overweight and resentful of his older brother, a star athlete now in college. His widowed mother works at the Sunnyside nursing home, where Tom spends afternoons. He has a genuine affection for the people who reside there, but Roger, a retired sea captain, has become almost a father to him. When Roger's health begins to fail, Tom is frightened that the old man will die, but eventually comes to accept the loss. His coach at school, who knew Tom's father, makes the boy realize that he has some athletic talent after all. A minor discussion of ""right to die'' issues is included in this mild coming-of-age story, with some nice characterizations woven into the scenes at Sunnyside. It's fairly standard fare, but Tom has a gawky, self-deprecating sweetness that rings true for boys his age. Ages 10-up. (October)