Eleven year old Jack is alone. The long anticipated summer vacation to Acadia National Park in Maine begins with an argument between Jack and his mother. After his first night of camping Jack awakes to find his mother gone. Jack knows not to panic because he has independently endured his mother’s other ‘spinning times’ in their hometown of Boston. With a new school year approaching in a few days Jack believes his mother will return for him. Jack is resourceful and starts the search for his mom while being careful not to draw attention to himself. With little news of her whereabouts, he resolves that she isn’t coming back for him. He must return to Boston without direct help from anyone. Jack has a fierce love for his mother and dreads the idea of being taken away from her. Jack is motivated to be quick and cautious as he travels. As the media releases a story of a lost boy in Maine, Jack’s fear of being discovered grows along with conflicted feelings of shame and disappointment towards his mother. Doubt creeps in that his Jack can’t do this on his own. Jack’s one small companion for his journey, a small toy elephant, helps him keep hopeful that things will work out. His knowledge, stories, and love of elephants allow Jack to keep going in his dire situation. This 2013-2014 William Allen White Master List book encourages one to explore the complexities of family dynamics and a child’s spirit to protect his mother. This intriguing tale will inspire satisfaction and pride in Jack’s discoveries and emotional growth along his journey.
Reviewed by Allison