Jake enjoys his daily walk around the family farm with Billy, his grandfather and “kindred soul.” As they stop by the mud-and-prairie-grass remnants of the soddy where Billy was born, he often remarks, “I loved that sod house.” One day he says, “I miss that sod house,” and finally, after Jake asks an idle question about cutting sod for bricks, Billy declares, “You can build me a sod house.” When Billy falls ill and is hospitalized, Jake overcomes his strong reluctance to build a soddy. His family pitches in and readies the little building for Billy’s return. The more Jake remarks that 88-year-old Billy “will live forever,” the more astute readers can be that the end is near. Printed in large type with wide-spaced lines, the first-person story, with its short sentences and nuanced observations, focuses primarily on Billy’s preparations for death, as told from Jake’s point of view. Though its subject may limit its appeal, MacLachlan writes with clarity of purpose. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan
“An intense, rewarding read.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“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.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“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 worldand MacLachlan gives them her particular stamp of plain speaking and poetry.” (The Horn Book)
“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))
It's touching and my kid finished reading in less than 2 daysPublished 3 months ago by Patrina Wong
If was a good book, nice easy read. It didn't hook me I just enjoyed it at certain parts like the ending.Published 5 months ago by OConMom
I always underestimate the power of Sarah MacLachlan's beautiful prose. When I chose this title for the Children's Crown Gallery Award list... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Tere Hager
My son and I loved reading this together - special ties to our farm and grandpa made this book even more special.Published 10 months ago by Kristine S.
This was a sweet story about how much a boy loved his grandfather. I also liked how the entire family became involved in showing not only the grandfather, but also their brother... Read morePublished 15 months ago by blackhighheels
As always, Patricia Mac Laughlin has a way with words that mingles with the heart.
This is a good choice to inspire children to feel with their hearts.
Awesome book for all ages of students. Currently reading it to fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Sandra L. Wright