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Author: Stauffacher, Sue
When 10-year-old Thomas's mother, who suffers from depression, disappears, he creates a fantasy narrative in which his mother is safe and sets in motion a path of healing, not just for himself, but for his father and aunt as well.
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Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 502905
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/19)
School Library Journal (04/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2019 Thomas' mom hasn't been acting like her usual lively self for awhile, so Thomas is surprised when, one morning, she animatedly describes a vivid dream in which she was traveling alone. Thomas is even more shocked to discover her missing when he arrives home from school. When the police find her car abandoned by a small airport, they assume the worst, since the airport is near a bridge many people use to commit suicide. In order to allay Thomas' growing anxiety about his depressed mother's disappearance (readers learn early on that, two years prior, his baby sister, Sadie Rose, died from a heart defect), Thomas' quirky friend, Giselle, and his elderly neighbor, Mrs. Sharp, encourage him to dream up fantastical stories about the adventures his mother is off enjoying. Unfortunately, Thomas' father believes his reliance on his fantasy storytelling is more harmful than helpful, which should spark conversations about emotional intelligence and stereotypes of masculinity. Stauffacher has written an interesting take on how to handle grief from a young boy's perspective. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2019 Gr 3 Up—Thomas Moran's mother has had the strangest dream, at least in Thomas's opinion. She tells him over breakfast that she dreamt she was going on a trip by herself. Thomas sees this as odd because his mother's depression has been so severe that she won't even leave their home. Thomas loses himself in thought and heads off to school. When he returns, however, his mother is gone. After a thorough police search where his mother's car is located, there is little more the police can do. At a neighbor's suggestion, Thomas begins to construct a fantasy story to help cope with his mother's disappearance and his own anxieties. As the mystery of his mother's disappearance deepens, Thomas and his family find great comfort in the tale that Thomas has concocted with his neighbor's assistance. This novel is incredibly heartwarming and the characters feel very real, especially the neighbor Giselle, whose vibrant personality lightens an otherwise sorrowful tone. VERDICT A great addition to any collection and one that may certainly help children dealing with their own personal losses.—Wayne R. Cherry Jr., St. Pius X High School, Houston - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.