Sunday, January 6, 2008
Jumping the Scratch by Sarah Weeks
After his father takes off with a mini-mart clerk and his Aunt Sapphy suffers a head injury in a cherry factory accident, 5th-grader Jamie Reardon finds himself living in a trailer at the not-so-wondrous Wondrous Acres. As the new kid at school, Jamie only wishes to be invisible, but a bully, his teacher Miss Miller who doesn't even realize his name isn't short for James, and the odd and prying Audrey Krouch simply won't let him disappear. Even as he tries to help his aunt regain her short-term memory, Jamie only wishes to forget his own terrible secret. As it happens, his disabled aunt and Audrey are the ones that can ultimately help Jamie face his fears.
Jumping the Scratch is a charming and quick read for younger readers. Jamie is a lovable character who I'm sure most kids, and humans in general, could relate to as he struggles with how to respond to a bully's taunts, how to fit in at a new school, and how to deal with a teacher who always seems to be picking on him. This a great story about kindness that isn't always so common and learning to open up and trust others to know and help us with our problems.