Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Audio : Audio Book
Jumping the Scratch

Jumping the Scratch

Fall 2006 Audio Book
Ages: 12 & Up
CD Price: $22.95
Tragedy comes in threes, or so they say. For 11-year-old Jamie Reardon, first his beloved cat companion, Mister, dies. Next, his father runs off with the cashier from the Micro-Mart and, then, his beloved Aunt Sapphy has an accident while on the job at the cherry factory and is left without short-term memory. Life in Battle Creek, Michigan, was no longer as “normal as Corn Flakes.”

Jamie and his mom pack up and move north to Traverse City to live with and take care of Aunt Sapphy. Jamie has difficulty fitting in at his new school and hasn't made any friends. Longing for companionship, he falls victim to an incident of sexual abuse by the manager of his aunt's trailer home complex. His burgeoning friendship with a quirky neighbor, Audrey Krouch, and his love for his aunt help him finally open up and reveal to Sapphy his painful secret.

Stephen Spinella reads the story with a presentation that helps the reader feel the flatline that has become Jamie's life. Sarah Weeks' book, Jumping the Scratch, is a heartbreaker; but, one with a happy ending. However, parents must use discretion in selecting this book. Although the sexual abuse is implied, not described, it certainly will lead to lots of questions that parents must be ready to handle. If this is a topic a parent wants to bring up with their family, this book is an excellent segue into a discussion. Weeks' treatment of the abuse is so subtle that it leaves a lot of room for parents to craft the discussion in a way that meets their needs.

Barbara Pape   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Barbara Pape is a consultant for WETA’s Reading project and is a freelance education writer and author of two traveling with kids books. She has an EdM from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and is the mother of two teens who share her love for a good book.

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