Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship 
by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes
illustrated byScott Magoon  
Review Copy from: Candlewick Press
Story: On a farm in the countryside, Rescue fails his training to be a Seeing Eye dog and begins training to be a service dog. He wonders if he will be good at his job, what will his new partner be like and if she will like him. In a hospital in the city, a young girl copes with the amputation of one leg and worries about losing the other, although readers are not told the reasons for this. As Rescue trains, the girl, Jessica, also trains, going through physical therapy and practicing with her prosthetic, and soon she is practicing with her service dog, Rescue as well. Rescue is there when Jessica has to have her other leg amputated, comforting her and helping her as she learns to face the changes in her life, in the end realizing that girl and dog have rescued each other.

Pictures: Magoon uses dark and light in his illustrations to capture the anxiety and emotions of the story, like sadness and fear. However, once Jessica and Rescue are together, illustrations are light and bright, even when Jessica undergoes her second amputation. Because of the nature of the story, there are a lot of technical aspects to the illustrations, like crutches, wheelchairs, dog crates and collars and prosthetic limbs. Magoon illustrates these well - they don't dominate the pages, but they are also present enough to encourage conversation.
Why Read? Why Buy?: Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship introduces readers the life of a working dog as well as the many ways in which humans are differently abled. The authors of this book, Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, are both survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and both amputees as a result. Rescue, who is named in honor of Worcester, Massachusetts firefighter Jon Davies, who rode on a truck named the Rescue 1 and gave his life in the line of duty, became Jessica's dog. Drawing from their own lives, the authors have written a story that children will be able understand and engage with, making this a valuable introduction to the training and work of a service dog and the work of recovering and adapting to a new life. Back matter includes information about NEADS, the organization that trains and places service dogs to work in a wide variety of situations, providing a range of services.

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

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