Every year, twelve-year-old Michael looks forward to his summer visit to his grandparents’ farm, to the sights and sounds of the country that always make him feel so alive, and especially to spending time with his grandfather. When Grandpa dies suddenly right before Michael’s visit, the loss hits Michael hard. It seems as if nothing is going right in his life right now: his dad is always working on his dissertation and has no time for Michael, and, when school starts, his math teacher seems to hate him and his best friends are never around. About the only thing that makes him feel better is picking up his sketchbook and pencil and drawing. Michael begins taking private art lessons with Charlie Andrews, a retired art teacher, and the two become friends. But then Michael learns that Charlie might be dying, too.
This is a touching first novel about a sensitive boy’s struggle to work through his grief and let people into his life again. As Graham Salisbury pointed out, it provides “excellent comfort to any young reader dealing with the frailty of life.”