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Author: Wait, Lea
In 1838, twelve-year-old Jake Webber works to help his family prepare for the harsh winter while also keeping the existence of his disabled younger brother a secret.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 110132
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 43369
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/06)
School Library Journal (00/11/06)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (01/07)
The Hornbook (11/06)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2007 Jake Webber’s family has come down in the world since his father’s banking job evaporated in an economic panic in 1838. Father has secured employment in a lumber mill, but that means relocating the family from Boston to Maine and leaving them on their own most of the week. The lion’s share of responsibility falls on teenage Jake’s shoulders, since Mother remains confined inside their rundown new home caring for six-year-old Frankie, a disabled child (suffering from what we now know as cerebral palsy) whom the family feels compelled to hide from the neighbors. Jake is up to the job, though, going to school, setting traps, preserving food, and working at the local jail. Even allowing for the guidance and support he receives from his new friend Nabby, who is hiding a family secret of her own, it’s a definite strain to accept that there are enough hours in the day for anyone to accomplish everything Jake seems to manage, and there’s also wishful thinking in the ending that sees injured Father conveniently offered a new desk job and invalid Frankie brought out into the community. Readers will still find appeal in the notion of the heroic kid who’s the mainstay of the family in tough times, and the period setting adds interest. Wait laces the plot with details drawn from regional history, such as the burning of the jail and the ministrations of Dr. Theobold, who appears here as the Webber family’s confidante and savior when fever strikes Mother and Frankie. While Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen are still the stalwarts in the genre, Jake’s story may be welcomed by fans of resilient, resourceful guys. EB - Copyright 2007 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2006 Gr 4-8-Jake's father has lost his job and savings in the economic panic of 1837. The family leaves its comfortable Boston surroundings and takes up residence in a dingy farmhouse in Wiscasset, ME, where the 12-year-old finds himself responsible for the household. With his father working as a lumberman and his mother caring for his younger brother, who has cerebral palsy, Jake carries the additional burden of keeping his sibling's existence a secret. He soon learns to trust his instincts and finds help and support from social outcasts. Granny McPherson, deemed a witch because of her herbal remedies; Nabby McCord, left to care for her younger siblings due to her alcoholic mother and seafaring father; and Simon, the kind, dim-witted handyman, help showcase the superstitious attitude toward differences that prevailed during this period. Although Jake at times appears too altruistic and resilient, he is still a believable protagonist. The native colloquialisms, use of actual people and events, and well-researched historical information keep the evenly paced plot appealing and the ending uplifting. Ben Mikaelsen's Petey (Hyperion, 1998), Katherine Paterson's Jip, His Story (Lodestar, 1996), and Cynthia DeFelice's The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker (Farrar, 1996) offer more in-depth pictures of some of the atrocities directed at those who are considered different. Wait's forthright tone and clear writing make this novel accessible to a wide audience.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2006 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2006 It’s 1838, and 12-year-old Jake Webber must make a difficult move from Maine to Boston after his father loses his job. Their new home is shabby and isolated, and their new life is a far cry from their former privileged one. Worse, Dad’s new logging job keeps him away from home, leaving Jake to care for his mother and disabled younger brother, Frankie, who his parents keep secret, fearing public rejection. It’s a heavy burden, but with unexpected support from townsfolk, including outcast healer Granny McPherson and neighbor Nabby, who has family burdens of her own, Jake finds courage, inner strength, and a new appreciation of family and friendships. Wait’s prose is straightforward, the story is filled with diverse characters and period details, and Jake is an appealing, dimensional protagonist, whose challenges are sympathetically portrayed. An author’s note provides background on the times and place. - Copyright 2006 Booklist.