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Summary: Freddie Pendzinski has all kinds of feelings. He is happy to have a new baby sister, but frustrated because she is sick all the time. He tries to be a good big brother, but it's hard, and he is sad. When he learns that she needs to have a kidney transplant, he worries if it will really help. This picture book follows the life of Caitlin Pendzinski and her need for a kidney tranpslant.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Age of Child: Read with child nearly 6 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: Our child had lots of questions about kidneys and hospitals and whether Caitlin would get better. S/He listened carefully, but the concepts took some time to comprehend; and when s/he did, s/he got a little bit nervous.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a well-told story. It offers an explanation of why kidney transplants are needed, how kidneys work, and what happens, but more importantly (at least to me) it describes Freddie's feelings as her brother.
Pros: This is book that families dealing with children who suffer life-threatening illnesses, as well as those who have lost a child and donated an organ, can use for comfort and hope.
Cons: None, really.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This an excellent book to enlighten children about children whose lives may not be like their own. It is not bogged down in detail, but it does explain things; but neither does it gloss over the facets of a organ donation. This would be a niche buy for families directly affected by illness or grief.
Educational Themes: The story is self-contained, but it also serves as a nice way to start a conversation with either an affected sibling, classmates, or even other family members. Topics could include: the daily lives of children with life-threatening illnesses, feelings, personal challenges, love, and loss and grief.
Notes: Based on a True Story
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, health, family