Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan

Jake and his family live with his grandfather, Billy, on the family farm that his grandfather's family started  over eighty years ago. Billy was born on the farm, in the sod house that his family lived in when they first settled there. Remnants of the house are still on the property.

Jake and Billy are kindred souls, according to Jake's mom. Jake loves Billy's stories and his way with animals. Every day when Jake finishes his chores, he and Billy walk the farm visiting the animals and their favorite spots, ending at the site of the old sod house.

Billy is extremely nostalgic about the old sod house and would like to see it rebuilt, something he is not physically capable of doing at this point in his life. He asks Jake to do it, but Jake, who loves his grandfather tremendously and is usually on his wavelength, doesn't really want to do it. It is physically taxing work and would take big chunk out of his summer. He doesn't see the need for it, nor understand his grandfather's desire to see it rebuilt.

When Billy is taken ill, however, rebuilding the sod house becomes a labor of love and soon the rest of the family join in, all hoping that Billy will survive to see it.

This is a very sweet, inter-generational family story. It would be a good choice for any child dealing with the potential loss of a grandparent.       2012

R. Rauch                                                                              

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