Kindred Souls [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jake’s grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds, is eighty-eight years old, and is going to live forever. Even when Billy gets sick, Jake knows that everything will go on as always. But there’s one thing Billy wants: to rebuild the sod house where he grew up. Can Jake give him this one special thing?

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about what we do for the ones we love, and how the bonds that hold us together ...

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Kindred Souls

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Overview

Jake’s grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds, is eighty-eight years old, and is going to live forever. Even when Billy gets sick, Jake knows that everything will go on as always. But there’s one thing Billy wants: to rebuild the sod house where he grew up. Can Jake give him this one special thing?

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about what we do for the ones we love, and how the bonds that hold us together also allow us to let each other go.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With her signature spare precision, MacLachlan (Word After Word After Word) crafts a standout portrait of a child-grandparent relationship, set on a family farm. “Billy is eighty-eight years old, and I don’t worry about him dying,” says 10-year-old narrator Jake. “He will live forever. I know that.” When irrepressible Billy nostalgically longs for a sod house, like the one he lived in as a child, MacLachlan skillfully stages Jake and the family’s reaction to this wish. Jake initially balks, then researches how to create a sod house, enlisting the entire family for help after Billy falls ill. The narrative offers a strong sense of place and family, with touches of the miraculous, such as “angel dog” Lucy, who arrives unexpectedly, bonding with Billy, and cheering him. The cycles of birth and death persist on the farm and gently foreshadow the inevitable mortality of its patriarch. MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love. Ages 7–10. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)
The Horn Book
“These are time-sculpted themes-the bond between a child and a grandparent, a child’s first experience of death, the comfort of continuity and connection to the natural world—and MacLachlan gives them her particular stamp of plain speaking and poetry.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own."
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Ten-year old Jake and his eighty-eight-year old grandfather, Billy, are constant companions—kindred souls. It is summertime and they enjoy taking long-walks, watching the surrounding prairie life unfold. Up the hill on the family farm are the remains of the sod house where Billy grew up; Billy longs to have a sod house again. Jake resists Billy's urging to undertake this venture, but when Billy gets sick and has to go to the hospital for treatment, Jake and his siblings make a pact to build the house. In the meantime, a dog has mysteriously appeared on the farm and is apparently looking after Billy, who calls her his "Angel Dog." When Billy comes home, he finds his sod house and spends many peaceful afternoons there with Lucy the dog, until one day Lucy comes back to dinner without him. Jake is consoled by his siblings who assure him that his actions in building the house made the final days easier for Billy. This is a story of true love—not words or thoughts—but actions for the benefit of the beloved. It can serve as a reminder to actively cherish those who are still living and, in so doing, ease the pain of losing them. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Ten-year-old Jake lives on a farm with his parents, siblings, and grandfather, Billy. The special bond between Jake and Billy causes the boy to believe that his grandfather will live forever. When Billy expresses an interest in seeing his old sod childhood home rebuilt, Jake is confused and reticent to learn how to help with the one thing his grandfather seems to want most. Yet when Billy becomes ill and must be hospitalized, the family members decide to fulfill his request and surprise him when he comes home. MacLachlan gracefully eases readers into the inevitability of life's natural cycles. She includes a mysterious "angel dog" (a stray) arriving on the scene and immediately latching on to Billy, seemingly sensing his coming death. In typical MacLachlan fashion, the strength of family is the springboard from which the plot takes form. Whether this book is used as bibliotherapy, as a read-aloud in the classroom, or for pure reader enjoyment, it will be a welcome addition to any collection.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Kirkus Reviews
This spare first-person account of a boy coping with his grandfather's death beautifully portrays something rare and surprisingly valuable: the opportunity to grieve for a loved one even while he is still alive. Jake and 88-year-old Billy are "kindred souls." They live on a farm that their family has owned for generations; in fact, Billy was born in a sod house he remembers fondly, the ruins of which still exist on the property. This is an intense, rewarding read: Readers see Billy directly through Jake's young eyes; there is no omniscient voice explaining that Billy is reaching the end of his days, and that's why he is sometimes childlike himself. Some may realize the inevitable early on; Jake's mistaken confidence in Billy's immortality--"I don't worry about him dying. He will live forever. I know that," and "And Billy is going to live forever," are representative thoughts--foreshadows the inevitable. Jake and his siblings undertake a remarkably ambitious project: They rebuild the sod house; Billy moves into it, and he eventually passes away there. The joy the children take in the effort, along with the knowledge that they have enabled someone they love to finish out his days at peace--at home--comforts. It's rare to find a children's book that deals so well with death as part of life, offering kids an effective approach to coping with sadness that incorporates humor, love and joy. (Fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062290816
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 238,753
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • File size: 743 KB

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb's Story; More Perfect Than the Moon; Grandfather's Dance; Word After Word After Word; and Kindred Souls. She is also the author of many much-loved picture books, including Three Names; All the Places to Love; What You Know First; Painting the Wind; Bittle; Who Loves Me?; Once I Ate a Pie; I Didn't Do It; Before You Came; and Cat Talk—several of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2012

    Wonderful book

    MacLachlan books never disappoint. Lovely, heartwarming. Highly Recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Amazing book

    The first time i read rhis book cryed my eyes out good for children thurd grade and up serious subject emotional book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2013

    Jake and his eighty-eight-year-old grandfather, Billy, are kindr

    Jake and his eighty-eight-year-old grandfather, Billy, are kindred souls. They share a special bond, and Billy always tells Jake about the sod house in which he grew up, the foundation of which still rests in the prairie around the family’s farm. So when Billy asks Jake to build him a new sod house, Jake knows that he will—with Billy’s “Angel Dog” Lucy at his side—even though Billy becomes ill.

    Beloved children’s author Patricia MacLachlan crafts a poignant and tender story with “Kindred Souls.” The subject matter is nostalgic and deep, and the language contains farming terminology such as “slough” and “windrow.” The story itself exudes sadness and follows a basic plotline in which little occurs but which is nevertheless touching. Children who have enjoyed a close relationship with a grandparent or other adult will understand “Kindred Souls” and will likely develop a greater appreciation of memories, dreams, and time spent with loved ones. Be prepared, however, because despite its short length, this book will leave a lasting impression and a sense of melancholy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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