It’s 1958, and Canada doesn’t yet have universal health care. That’s bad news for Jimmy, who was brain-damaged by his “Uncle” Ted and needs an operation. Uncle Ted tells everyone that Jimmy fell from a swing, but Carolyn, Jimmy’s friend and this little book’s heroine, saw what really happened. She’s determined to keep Jimmy safe from Uncle Ted from here on out.
Watching Jimmy is a fast read, and that’s a good thing, since once started it’s impossible to put down.The only thing I didn’t like was the scary cover art. Carolyn’s bravery rings true; the book feels honest and her voice is just right. Readers understand that there’s no guarantee of a happy ending but are left with hope for one. A cameo appearance by Canada’s most-loved political figure, Tommy Douglas, who instituted single-payer health care for every Canadian, was icing on this cake of a book. Watching Jimmy has deservedly won many honors, including the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award. In fact, this book is so good that its target reader age, “9 and up,” should be taken literally: adults as well as younger readers will love it.
O Canada – what a great book! Warmly recommended.