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Children's LiteratureAn endearing, heartwarming story unfolds in this relationship between Gracie, a little girl, and Roo, her mentally challenged aunt. Young listeners can relate to the tale as they see how Gracie plays with Roo, learns to walk, and finally goes off to school. Gracie and Roo's shared good times include singing, marching, sliding down a mountain-like haystack, and barefoot romps in the rain. However, their favorite activity is playing school. Roo teaches Gracie how to add and to read easy books before she ever starts school. The school separation is difficult for both of them, but soon Gracie is able to play the teacher while Roo plays the student. Inevitably Gracie begins to prefer school-age friends and activities. The retching truth hits hard when Gracie brings a friend, Sarah, home and denies knowing Roo who is frolicking about the yard bedecked with long flapping hair ribbons. Roo is devastated by Gracie's rejection. But Sarah quizzes Gracie on how she learned to make a snack, who made a pretty painted glass hanging in her window, and how she learned to make a whistle from grass. Gracie realizes Roo taught her those things and more. So Gracie takes Sarah to meet Roo, her mentally challenged aunt, and they all play school together. All youngsters will benefit by reading this book. It is an especially good one for anyone who knows a mentally challenged adult. 2004, G P Putnam's Sons, Ages 4 to 8.
—Nancy Garhan Attebury