Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Caleb’s Story

Caleb’s Story

Patricia MacLachlan
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 and up
HarperCollins, 2002   ISBN: 978-0064405904

Anna, the eldest child in the family, is moving to town, and she has told her brother Caleb that it is now his turn to keep the family journal; it is his turn to tell the family story, and Caleb is not sure that he wants the job. The family now includes Cassie, a chatty and incredibly stubborn little girl who both delights and infuriates Caleb. For one thing, Cassie is constantly telling him what he should write about.

Winter arrives early and it is fierce. With the wind, rain, and snow the winter brings a visitor, an old grumpy old man who is given refuge in Sarah's house, and who makes very little effort to be pleasant or sociable. It is only when Sarah's husband is able to make his way home after the blizzard dies down that the family discovers that the old man is none other than Jacob's long absent father. Apparently the father walked out on Jacob and his mother when Jacob was just a little boy.

Caleb is determined to find out all he can about the "mysterious" old man who says very little about himself, and who explains even less. The little house is filled with tension, anger, and unhappiness as Jacob and "Grandfather" try to come to terms. Caleb and Cassie stand on the sidelines looking in, trying to understand, and Sarah does her best to smooth things over, ever the peace-maker in the family.

It is only when disaster strikes that the walls around Grandfather and Jacob begin to crumble. The children and Sarah cannot help wondering if it is too late to repair the damage done so many years ago.

This is a book that is almost impossible to put down once the reader has started reading the story. The tale is full of the pain that can tear a family apart, but that can also help to bring a family back together again if its members want to fix that which has been broken.

This is one of the books in the Sarah Plain and Tall series.