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School Library Journal
Rachel and her younger brother are placed in foster care after their mother leaves. Frightened and worried, they meet a number of people such as police, caseworkers, lawyers, court-appointed guardians, judges, and volunteers who help them understand what is happening and help them navigate the difficulties of their new situation. Still, they want to know when they can be reunited with their mother. When Gilbert finds a dog, he names him Spud, and hides him in a shed. All of the children at the home love the animal but forget to feed him. When he runs away, they realize that just because they love Spud doesn't mean that they know how to take care of him, and that he needs to live where he can be properly cared for. Through this, Rachel begins to understand her own situation and is able to explain it to Gilbert. The full-color illustrations, many full-page, reinforce the story and provide additional visual information (such as what a courtroom looks like). The story of the unintentionally neglected dog provides an analogy that children can understand, and a difficult, complex situation is depicted with clarity and compassion. Boxes offer brief but accessible information such as "a supervised visit means another grownup will be there to make sure that you are safe." The five-page glossary is thorough and clear. A thoughtfully assembled book that will fill a need in many collections.
—Susan MoorheadCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.