By Patricia MacLachlan
Katherine Tegen Books, c2012. 119 pages. Fiction.
Jake is not your typical ten year old boy. He lives with his family on a quiet farm, and his best friend is his aging grandfather, Billy. When a stray dog, Lucy, appears on the farm one day, she brings with her a sense of change and comfort. The three pals grow close, with Lucy never leaving Billy's side even when he takes ill. As his health (but not his spirit) deteriorates, Billy expresses his wish for Jake to build a sod house for him like the one he had as a child. The family pulls together to recreate his happy childhood home, and Billy spends his last days there in total contentment. This story is a nice telling of the twilight of one's life, and the passing on of memories to the next generation. Billy is loveable and lively, and Jake is a respectful and friendly child. The book is less about dying and more about treasuring the past while living in the present. MacLachlan's signature graceful language makes for a soothing, sunshiny read.