By Valerie Hobbs
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374308476, 128pp.)
Publication Date: August 26, 2004
List Price: $16.00*
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Winner of the 2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) in the Children's Products competition. A memorable trio of characters, each fighting for independence
Eleven-year-old Toby Steiner wants to do normal things on his vacation: he wants to hike and race his bike down the hill and learn to fish out on the lake. The last thing he wants is to return to the children’s hospital where his painful cancer treatment finally ended. When Toby starts spending time with Pearl, a spunky old woman who lives on a nearby farm, and Blossom, her broken-down cow, he sees all the more reason to keep the new lump on his side a secret from his parents. From Pearl he discovers the beauty of poetry, and from Blossom he just might uncover the meaning of life.
In this honest and life-affirming novel for young readers, which Suzanne Fisher Staples, author of the Newbery Honor Book Shabanu, calls “beautiful and gripping,” an unforgettable boy learns about the importance of letting things happen on their own and listening to his heart.
Valerie Hobbs is the recipient of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein Award, a biennial prize that recognizes "an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of children's fiction." She is the author of young adult and middle-grade novels including Sheep, Anything but Ordinary, and The Last Best Days of Summer. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has taught academic writing. Valerie lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband.
"Real and poignant." -- Starred, Kirkus Reviews "This gripping story will send fans searching for this author's previous books." -- SIGNAL "Emotionally satisfying. Hobbs, a gifted writer, does a quietly effective job of dramatizing the life-affirming power of both poetry and a cross-generational friendship." -- Booklist "Without morbidity, Hobbs ranges between tart and poignant, sorrowful rage and hope." -- The Horn Book "This simple, touching story offers great characterization." -- VOYA "A heartwarming story of self-discovery." --A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader