Thursday, January 27, 2011

Starred review!

In anticipation of The Goodbye Cancer Garden's March release, I was thrilled to receive a starred review from School Library Journal (Feb. 2011). Here's what the reviewer had to say:
* K-Gr 3–In January, Janie’s mom breaks the news that she has breast cancer. The doctor tells Janie and Jeffrey that she will probably be better by “pumpkin time,” so they decide to plant a garden as a symbol of health and hope. “Then before we know it....Hello, pumpkins, goodbye cancer!” The family members nurture the garden and one another, and by harvest time their hopes have been fulfilled. Smoothly told in a reassuringly matter-of-fact and understated way, this is less a story about cancer than about one family’s response to it. Details about the treatment and the woman’s physical reactions to it are worked in unobtrusively. The family and their supportive circle maintain a humorous and positive attitude, from the neighbors who crown Mom queen when they come over to serve her dinner to the uncle who buzz cuts her hair at the head-shaving party. Realistic emotions like her general sadness or Janie’s brother’s dismay at his mom’s baldness are included, but are downplayed. The sketchy illustrations are tender and sweet. After the first “breaking the news” scene, every page depicts grateful smiles and loving camaraderie. Outdoor scenes provide a feeling of fresh air and the healing of nature. An uplifting, hopeful story, well told and beautifully illustrated.