[set star] "This is a thoughtful book, a useful book, and a very well-handled depiction of death for young people."—The Bulletin (starred)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-This fourth book in the series focuses on a potentially scary and emotionally charged theme: the death of a classmate. Pa Lia Vang doesn't like Stinky Stern, the bully of her second-grade class. But late one day, on his way home from school, he is hit by a van in full view of the child. She learns later that evening that he has died. When the students take turns remembering him, Pa Lia is unsure of what to say. In an honest and sensitive series of remembrances, the author never allows her characters to sugarcoat or gloss over the boy's past injustices. The children acknowledge the truth about their relationship with Stinky, but also express their sadness and confusion about his death. Edwards's expressive black-and-white computer-sketched illustrations provide additional details about the characters and setting. The author handles the topic with skill and sensitivity, a significant accomplishment given the vocabulary and structural constraints of the easy-to-read chapter-book format. While the subject matter is indeed serious and the tone, for the most part, somber, children who have experienced the loss of a classmate or friend will find hope in this honest presentation.-Carol L. MacKay, Camrose Public Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
MICHELLE EDWARDS has written and illustrated many books for young readers, including Chicken Man, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and the Jackson Friends series. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
Visit Michelle Edward's website for reader's and teacher's guides for all of the Jackson Friends books.