Sarah's Stars

Peggy Brooke. Jake's Orphan
Aladdin Paperbacks  $6.99  ISBN 0-7434-2703-3  266 pg.
Reviewed by Hayley

"Fire!" I rasped hoarsely; my lungs couldn't get enough air to shout.

Theodore (aka Tree) and his brother Alexander (aka Acorn) are living in an orphanage, and have been there for nine years, after a fire destroyed their home, killing their mom. One day the Gundersons arrive at the orphanage and agree to adopt Tree, on a trial basis for one year. Twelve-year-old Tree promises ten-year-old Acorn that he will send for him as soon as he can. However, Mr. Gunderson is not easy to please, and when Tree gets into trouble at school, he is warned that he has one more chance before he is on a train back to the orphanage.

Halfway through a year of hard work, Acorn arrives and reminds Tree of his forgotten promise. Mr. Gunderson's kind brother also lives on the farm, and he saves Acorn from being sent back to the dreaded orphanage. But when Acorn makes a very big mistake, can anyone help the boys, or is it back to the orphanage for both of them?

Jake's Orphan is a 266-page, realistic fiction, paperback novel suitable for ages 10-15. A winner of the IRA Children's Book Award. "a richly satisfying tale ... achingly believable" ­Bulletin of the Centre for Children's Books.

I enjoyed reading Jake's Orphan, and found it to be very touching. It kept me hooked, although I felt there should have been more explanation of the boys' background. Because there were "gaps", I rate this book 4 stars.

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