This Way, Charlie

Abrams. Apr. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419742064.
PreS-Gr 2–Open Bud Ranch is an animal sanctuary for injured or rescued animals. Cows, dogs, cats, and sheep all reside there including Jack, a misanthropic goat who keeps to himself. That is, until a horse named Charlie arrives. Charlie is energetic and full of good cheer, and is blind in one eye. The two form a friendship and readers observe how Jack becomes Charlie’s eyes on the farm, helping him navigate the terrain. We also get a brief insight into Jack’s abusive past, explaining his aloofness. One day, after Charlie has lost sight in both eyes, the two companions are caught in a terrible storm and Charlie can’t hear his friend’s instructions over the roar of the wind. Charlie becomes trapped and it is up to Jack to overcome his reticence and rouse the other animals for help.
VERDICT Based on a true friendship between a horse and a goat, this picture book has much to offer for young readers about life’s challenges and how we handle them. Levis (Ida, Always) excels at crafting emotional, but never saccharine, tales of friendship. Strongly recommend for purchase.

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