Rescue hears that he might not be a good seeing eye dog. That devastates him as he comes from a long line of Seeing Eye Dogs. However, what Rescue realizes he is good at makes him important to a special young girl. And therefore, able to continue in the distinguished line of service dogs. Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship is based loosely on the events of Jessica Kensky’s experiences as being a double amputee due to the Boston Bombing.
Told from the point of view of Rescue, this book is a way for children to learn about “body differences” in a safe and non-preachy way. Yes, it is a little heavy handed that Rescue and Jessica “rescued each other one step at a time”, but it is not over the top or never a real “hit you over the head” moment that a book like this could have.
The fact the real Jessica was an adult and how she was injured was never mentioned in the main text. Learning this fact and other information in the back about service dogs helps tie the story together. The small changes make it accessible and relatable to a younger reader. While the format is a picture book, older children can enjoy as well (ages five to young ten) and of course, adults, too. The fact that they never mention how Jessica is hurt (just saying she was in an accident) is a good touch. It just shows that “things happen” and being “different looking” is normal. Not making a “big deal” is a way of not skirting an issue, but making it appropriate.
Over all, while I am a bit skeptical about based on real-life stories and always cautiously optimistic about “lesson” books, this is something that is on my “will recommend” list to a variety of people