There is something so intriguing and hopeful in how Lois Lowry writes children as intelligent, sentient beings. She gives them credit for understanding the subtleties and difficulties of life, whereas to many authors tend to shield children from the more harsh realities of life. Even in this story, the main characters parents don't realize just how much their daughter understands. And the beautiful part is that it does not scar the character. This knowledge isn't something that will ruin childhood for her, it is just yet another event added to the story of her growing up. Lowry respects and reveres the strength and intellect of children and that is apparent in the way she writes her children characters.
The use of antique photos in Lowry's portrayal of the lives of the Thatcher, Bishop and Stoltz families reminded me so much of Rasom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Storytelling incorporating mixed media is something we are seeing more of lately, outside of the usual children's picture book. As graphic novels gain more legitimacy, people are finally starting to understand the art involved in the combination of visual and word imagery to more effectively evoke emotion in the reader.
Synopsis: Katy Thatcher was the bright and curious daughter of the town doctor. She was fascinated by her father’s work, and even as a child she knew that she too wanted to be a doctor. She wanted to know about people. Perhaps it was this, her insatiable curiosity, or simply the charm of Jacob’s gentle intimacy with animals large and small, that fueled their friendship. Although Jacob never spoke to her or even looked at her directly, Katy grew to understand him from the moments they spent together quietly singing to the horses. She knew there was meaning in the sounds he made and purpose behind his movements. So when events took an unexpected and tragic turn, it was Katy alone who could unravel the mystery of what had occurred, and why.
A two-time recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal, acclaimed author Lois Lowry presents a sensitive and moving story of a wide-eyed young girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century and the influence of the farm community around her. Through Katy’s eyes, readers can see the human face so often hidden under modern psychological terminology and experience for themselves the haunting impact of her friendship with the silent boy.