How could someone like Mick die? He was the kid who freaked out his mom by putting a ceramic eye in a defrosted chicken, the kid who did a wild dance in front of the whole school--and the kid who, if only he had worn his bicycle helmet, would still be alive today. But now Phoebe Harte's twelve-year-old brother is gone, and Phoebe's world has turned upside down. With her trademark candor and compassion, beloved middle-grade writer Barbara Park tells how Phoebe copes with her painful loss in this story filled with sadness, humor--and hope. Chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of their Best Books of 1996. "A full-fledged and fully convincing drama" (Publishers Weekly).
"I don't want to make you cry. I just want to tell you about Mick. But I thought you should know right up front that he's not here anymore. I just thought that would be fair." Phoebe, the eighth-grade narrator of Park's (Buddies; Don't Make Me Smile) heart-wrenching novel, weaves together diverting anecdotes about her endearingly eccentric brother with her reactions, and those of her parents, to his death in a bicycle accident at the age of 12. The genius of this novel is Park's ability to make the events excruciatingly real while entirely avoiding the mawkish; likable Phoebe's frank, at times even funny narration will leave readers feeling as though they've known the girl-and Mick-for a very long time. Park's ability to convey so affectingly both the individual and collective pain of this family's members is remarkable. She focuses on small moments-the father closing the door to Mick's room upon returning from the hospital; the mother covering her ears because she cannot bear Phoebe's talk about her brother. But the novel has another crucial dimension in that it stresses the importance of wearing bike helmets. Midway through the story, in response to Phoebe's misplaced sense of guilt, Phoebe's father introduces the subject: "He heaved a God-awful sigh and whispered, `If only I had made him wear his helmet.'" The message is skillfully reprised toward the conclusion, in a powerful scene in which Phoebe overcomes her own pain and anger to participate in a school assembly on bicycle safety. An author's note at the end reinforces the message. To Park's great credit, the lesson never dominates-the story reads not as a cautionary tale, but as a full-fledged and fully convincing drama. Ages 8-12.
I remember reading this book and the impact it had on me as a kid. Re-reading it now as an adult and a teacher was no less impactful. This book gives an accessible look at grief and the pain of a preventable accident.
Sadnesssss but really good
Mick Harte was Here
It made me cry, it's very uncommon I get a book that makes me cry, it was just that good