Monday, June 11, 2018

My Girls' Obsession and A Biographical Book about a Service Dog
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes and Scott Magoon
This book could not be more up my girls' alley.  For context: Esky celebrated her 9th birthday three weeks ago.  When anyone asked what she'd like for a gift, she responded that she didn't need gifts, but if they really wanted to give her something, they could bring any spare change they found and she would donate the combined amount to the SPCA and WWF.  Then she did.  After the SPCA visit, she was swollen with joy and spouting plans to make animal crafts to sell so she could earn more money to give to animals.  I never suggested this to her.  She did read a story in the paper about another girl who had done it, and told me that she thought that was the best use of a birthday she'd heard of.  Here's the top of Esky's library check-out list:
And we don't have any pets.  The girls lament this fact regularly.  It's an exclusion in our tenancy agreement...but also...I'm not there yet with the pets; getting the girls to clean up their stuff is enough, peops.  So...we feed horses apples at fence-lines, walk family member's dogs, dream and diary futures filled with farm-life, and in Ivy's case, pretend to be a pet.  *blank face* 

The cover of this book alone induced gasps of admiration.  The story got them talking.  At its end, Esky said, "I feel bad, because reading this I kind of wish something bad happened to me so I could have a service dog."


I doubt Esky appreciates the gravity of the struggles service dog-users have, but she really wanted me to grasp the depth of her want.  I'm getting it, Esky.

More on the book now.
We love the inclusion of biographical notes, accept the adaptation to a younger protag, manage the dual perspectives (Jessica AND dog...and it works!) and respect the pacing (this picture book has gentle suspense!).  I appreciate how well this story expresses a mutually beneficial relationship and how aptly the illustrations render darkness into Jessica's battle.

This came at just the right time for us (not long after Esky's birthday and at the peak of animal fever).  It only makes the girls appreciate animals more and, I hope, empathise with the struggles others face a little better.  We highly recommend Rescue & Jessica. (P.S. The hardback is lovely).

If you're feeling an itch, here are links to donate to the SPCA, WWF, or NEADS (a nonprofit that provides highly skilled service dogs for people who are deaf or have a disability). 

Review copy received from Walker.

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