A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the beautifully handled nonlinear plot and the vivid language keep readers engaged, but the slow, sad story makes it less appealing.
What's the story?
When Baby dies, tragedy affects everyone in the family differently. They must find their own paths through grief, in their own time, and this may not match another's schedule or needs. The wisdom of one family member in supporting these differences results in healing. This moving story of grief and recovery is told in an eccentric, nonlinear fashion.
Is it any good?
The moving story line highlights the shattering effect of grief in 12-year-old Willa Jo Dean's family. It echoes Willa Jo's fragmentary process of working through grief over her baby sister's death and its debilitating effects on Mom. It also adds to the satisfaction of the family reunion at book's end. Some children may have a hard time with the sad topic and the slow pace of the story.
Willa Jo is portrayed as a spunky girl fighting to help her sister, while struggling to be of help to Mom, by living with rule-making Aunt Patty. Willa Jo sounds adult, partly as a result of the book's engaging Southern voice and partly because she's the older sister.