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Jenny Wren – A Gentle Fostering

Jenny Wren from JourneyForth Books is a gentle middle grade novel about a young girl who desperately needs a home and the couple who give her one.

“The sudden perking sound of a tractor starting woke Jenny.  The first thing she saw was an airy curtain lifting lightly on an August morning breeze.”

So begins one of the most lyrical, gentle middle grade books I’ve ever read.

My favorite thing in the whole world (as you probably know) is sinking in to a truly good story and living there for a while.  And I must say, I got that and more with Jenny Wren by Dawn L. Watkins  from JourneyForth Publishing.

 Jenny Wren from JourneyForth Books is a gentle middle grade novel about a young girl who desperately needs a home and the couple who give her one.

Fall in love with Jenny Wren

I don’t even know if I can do this book justice.  It was the first book in JourneyForth’s catalog, and it continues to be very popular for a reason. If you want something to send you stumbling headlong right back into childhood, you have to read it.  If you want your kids to appreciate Nature and Family and Belief, read it with them.

This post is sponsosed by JourneyForth.   Though I was compensated for my time, all opinions are my own.  That’s how I roll.

The story follows Jenny as she starts the 3rd grade in yet another foster home.  But this one is special.  The Logans live on a beautiful farm, and even though they’re elderly, they seem to genuinely care about Jenny–something she’s never before experienced.  Mr. Logan, who asks her to call him Grandpa, allows Jenny to help him when he cuts trees from the forest, when he feeds and milks the cows, and he even allows her to sit on his retired old horse, Benjamin.  Mrs. Logan (Grandma) needs help in the house.  Jenny learns the benefits of hard work, good eating, and quiet time spent with people who care.

I mean, even the illustrations are gentle and beautiful.

Jenny Wren is a beautiful book about the power of family and love

There are character lessons peppered throughout all this gorgeousness and life lessons in general.  I think my favorite part of all was when ‘Grandpa’ got a book on forestry to explain to Jenny how trees take turns owning the forest (meaning being predominant).  After he explains to Jenny how it works she tells him, “You know everything.”

“No,” (he says) “But you can usually find what you want to know in a book.”

I mean, yeah yeah.

The meaning of family

This book, y’all.  It reminded me of all those summery, spent-time-at-grandma’s-farm books I loved as a kid.  It was a perfect April read–making me look forward to all the farm things to come and reminding that sometimes life really is just good.  Hard,  maybe.  But good.

Because sometimes family starts from a different place.  Sometimes people fit together even when it looks like they shouldn’t.

Jenny discovers a home when she never expected to.  The Logans find a new child to love as their own.

Now if only the welfare people will stop interfering.

Letting love win

Disaster strikes the farm, making Jenny question everything.  Hasn’t she already lost enough?  Without thinking things through, she takes the school bus home to the young family welfare is considering moving her to.  And though she is almost immediately homesick for the Logans, she’s opened a whole new can of worms for the welfare department.

Here’s the thing.

Government agencies try their best with what they have to work with.  But they can’t always be right.  Sometimes an elderly couple looks bad on paper, but sometimes they are just what a child needs.  Jenny realizes her mistake immediately, but even that might not be soon enough.

I enjoyed this book so much, I passed it straight to the boys to read.  Middle finished it in just 2 days, pronounced it “one of the best books” he’d ever read, and Littlest is now enjoying it thoroughly.  They both loved the bits about the farm and thought Mr. Logan was very like their own grandfather.  “They eat at the table like us,” Littlest said.  Because kids like to be able to relate to the characters, and there’s plenty of opportunity for that in this wonderful book.

Jenny Wren gently reminds the reader that belief is important to life without ever being preachy.  It is an easy read that teaches with poetic descriptions and tender moments.  It is seriously a book for all ages and all backgrounds.

Because what better life lesson is there than that

Love wins,

KT

P.S.  JourneyForth offers a full novel study to accompany the book, so how rocked are you right now?  You have to check this out!

KT Brison
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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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14 Comments

  1. Sounds like such a lovely and touching story! Pinned.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…The Best Chocolate and Penut Butter Cupcakes…. EVER!My Profile

  2. I’ve never heard of that book – thanks for sharing about it at Literacy Musing Mondays!
    Brandi Raae recently posted…Literacy Musing Mondays April 17-22My Profile

  3. This story sounds lovely! Like you, I find few things more comforting than a good book. Thanks for the heads up on this one!
    Shelly recently posted…When It Comes to Homeschool Curriculum, Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean BetterMy Profile

  4. This sounds wonderful. It’s been a long time since ive read a great novel for this age group. Loved your review. I can’t wait to read it.

    • Middle grade books that really have heart can be hard to come by. They are often adventure- or comedy-focused. I was so happy to be able to recommend a truly good book to you and all my readers.

  5. Thank you, KT, for a beautiful review. I’m biased because I am Dawn’s current editor and work for JourneyForth, but you’ve touched on elements that are important to us in the books we publish for the youth market.

  6. This sounds beautiful! What a sweet, sweet story. I will have to check this out for my oldest.

  7. Wow. I think you probably did do justice to this description. You’ve talked me right into it. Sounds like a great family book to get us all engrossed in. Thank you!
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