Review of Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship

Rescue & Jessica:
A Life-Changing Friendship
by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes; illus. by Scott Magoon
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
4/18    978-0-7636-9604-7    $16.99

Rescue is disappointed to learn that he will not become a Seeing Eye dog. "That was hard for Rescue to hear. Helping people who can't see was the family business." Instead, he is assigned to the service-dog team. Meanwhile, Jessica, lying in a hospital bed, learns one of her legs has been amputated. 'That was hard to hear. She had only ever walked on her own two legs." Spot art and full-page illustrations show the progress and challenges that bring their separate journeys together. The two form a powerful bond and work as a team to take care of each other. When Jessica's other leg must also be amputated, "Rescue knew just what to do to help Jessica, all on his own," and the art shows her holding him sleeping in her hospital bed. Together, they "had to start all over again." The quiet and stirring text pairs beautifully with the art, which uses color and white space to convey time, meaning, and emotion with great effect. An author's note explains that Rescue and Jessica's story is based on a real-life partnership, begun when Jessica Kensky was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing (her husband, co-author Patrick Downes, also lost his leg in the bombing). In the main text, Jessica's injuries are not explained; the story instead focuses on the power and comfort that comes form her relationship with her service dog.

From the March/April 2018 Horn Book Magazine.
Julie Roach
Julie Roach

Julie Roach manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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