by Peter Leibert

"...something magical happened. Jerome smiled."

This children's book is based on the true story of a legless man discovered in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, in the 1860s. However, it is highly fictionalized. Possibly to soften the intensity for young readers of a tale about a legless man, the two who find the man, Jerome, are Corgis. They can't communicate with him, yet they persist in making him comfortable and warm. The Corgis' friend, an old otter, has an idea to give Jerome even better care: "The village should adopt him and treat him as a friend…"

One of the morals that comes across loud and clear in the book is the idea of demonstrating care for strangers. Other lessons in the book deal with understanding disabilities and having compassion for the disabled. Most children don't know what to do when faced with a disabled person. They often stare. Parents can guide children to be better in this regard, starting with this book. Thrown in is a history lesson because Jerome, at one point, ends up in a poorhouse.

The book takes young readers off on a geography lesson, as well. For example, where are Digby Neck and Fundy? Where exactly is Nova Scotia? Learning to read maps can be a fun rabbit hole to explore, and this exceptional read definitely inspires this activity. This story is told in such lively detail that readers are anxious to get to the end and find out what transpires. Adults might also find themselves caught up in the tale, which makes this book a refreshing change of pace for all ages and well worth reading.

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