By Richard W. Jennings
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780618433674, 160pp.)
Publication Date: October 2004
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He saw the first one at Wal-Mart, where a person can find just about anything they need, and quite a lot they don’teven ghosts, as twelve-year-old Lawson discovers. Soon, Lawson’s days and nights are filled with the comings and goings of numerous long-dead famous people. But for all the ghosts he sees, there is one whose face he cannot, no matter how hard he tries. Jip: Jennifer Iris Palmerwhy couldn’t he picture her face, when he wanted to more than anything? She would have understood. Jip knew something about everything. But Jip was gone, leaving Lawson without the benefit of his best friend’s extensive knowledge. Together with his dog Scribble, he struggles to unravel the meaning of his experiences.
Through Lawson’s unusual misadventures, author Richard Jennings presents a sensitive and moving portrayal of one boy’s struggle to make some sense of his world in the wake of the loss of his best friend.
Richard W. Jennings has published more than fifty essays, articles, and short stories, including The Tragic Tale of the Dog Who Killed Himself, published by Bantam Books in 1980 to widespread critical acclaim, in addition to his recent titles published with Houghton Mifflin -- Orwell's Luck, The Great Whale of Kansas, My Life of Crime, and Scribble. He is cofounder of a popular Kansas City-area bookstore and former editor of KANSAS CITY MAGAZINE. He has five children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, and a parrot and lives in Kansas.
The wry text is suffused with the anguish of one left behind...the matter-of-fact narration by turns funny and achingly sad.
Lawson's attempts to comprehend difficult events and experiences are sympathetically portrayed...[Jennings] ably conveys the importance of friendship and the discovery that not everything is logical.