Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire. Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she'd imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.
These married authors, who each lost legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and have a service dog named Rescue, affectingly weave fact and fiction in their debut book. Jessica, a fictional child, is a hospital patient recovering from an unspecified injury; "both of her legs were badly hurt," and her left leg was amputated. While she learns to walk with a prosthetic leg (though she's "frustrated and sad about the things she still couldn't do"), a frisky black Lab is being trained as a service dog nearby. Jessica's spirits improve measurably once she adopts Rescue, and, after her right leg is removed in a second surgery, the intuitive, intelligent dog helps Jessica adjust to her new life, emotionally and physically. Kensky and Downes streamline their character's medical ordeal and her process of learning to walk again, highlighting the moments of quiet victory as well as those of despair. Magoon's (I Have a Balloon) realistic digital illustrations poignantly capture these experiences, offering images of the girl and dog that emphasize the fact that theirs is a mutual rescue. The artist, who like the authors is a Boston resident, provides affectionate, sunlit glimpses of that city including one featuring a mother duck swimming with her ducklings. Ages 5 9. Authors' agent: Clelia Gore, Martin Literary Management.