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Back by Sunrise illustrates a thoughtful coming-of-age story, which shows how a child might interpret - and subsequently deal with - loss when tragedy strikes.
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By AudioBook Reviewer on 05-05-16
fairytale quality of the writing
This story was a lovely parable about the nature of death in the life of a young child.
Brooke absolutely adores her father and when he goes away on active duty for the military and doesn't come home, she's distraught. He promised her that he would come home to finish painting birds and woodland creatures on the mural in her bedroom but now he can never do that.
As you can tell from the synopsis, Brooke turns into a bird when she puts on the necklace she finds from her father following his death and when she doesn't make it back home by sunrise as the note she finds with it instructs her to do, she cannot turn back into her human form.
While she is stuck in her bird form, she feels an even greater sense of helplessness than she's been feeling since the death of her father. She finds that making new friends eases her burden, especially when faced by a greater evil hat stands between her and becoming human again to rejoin her family.
She meets Roy, a kind young bird who teaches her how to use her wings and shares with her the loss of his father and Timmy, a mouse with his own sad story who teaches her to think about the feelings of her family as well as her own.
The message in this story comes through loud and clear, that friends and family are important in times of bereavement and that though the pain feels personal and lonely, other people have gone through the same thing too and others may be sharing in your grief.
What I like most about this story is that it doesn't come across as sad, it is the story of a child on a magical adventure and coming across challenges but coming through the other side. The fairytale quality of the writing takes the edge off the painful topic and feels comfortably familiar.
I would definitely recommend this story for a primary aged child going through a bereavement or even to children in general to help them understand the concept of loss.
Rebecca Greene brought a great energy which would easily keep a child's attention and lightened the mood of the story. Her character voices were very entertaining and she made Brooke's grief seem very real, her performance and the production quality of this audiobook were second to none.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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11 of 14 people found this review helpful
By DabOfDarkness on 08-02-15
A kid's tale that deals with a tough subject
This story is primarily about Brooke and how she deals with a very difficult time in her life. She and her dad have been working on painting a mural in her bedroom. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to finish it together before he is called out to serve his country over seas. Brooke awaits her father’s return only to hear the sad news he will never return. Yet she has this necklace from him, which turns out to be magical. Through her adventures, she learns to let go of some of her anger and to carry the sadness.
This was a rather touching little piece of magical modern-day fantasy. I’ve listened to several other Justin Sloan books and this one is the tamest and perhaps the slowest of pace. Brooke is a typical kid, occasionally arguing with her brother, not always obeying the parents right away, painting on walls, etc. The first part, which sets the scene for the family dynamics, goes by very quickly. Once Brooke finds out her necklace has the power to change her into a bird, the story picks up.
Her adventures as a bird start off pretty small. She stays close to home, makes a friend or two, and learns to eat bird food (which her human brain tells her isn’t very tasty at all). There’s some humor, a little action. Mostly, this part of the story is tame exploration of Brooke’s new world. It is a bit slow at this point and that is my only mild complaint on this book. But then Brooke wants to be a human again and that turns out to be a bit challenging.
My favorite part of the story was the last bit. The action really picks up, Brooke has foes to face (in bird form), and has to figure out how to turn into a human again. This is where Brooke’s emotions towards her mom and her now-gone father really bubble to the surface and she has to make an active decision as to how to deal with them. I really liked this aspect because it shows a kid making an adult decision and I think many of us have had moments like that when we were kids.
The final ending was very satisfying. After Brooke’s sadness and anger, all her adventures, we get this ending that tied up the story nicely. The story started with that bedroom mural and we get to return to it. That really closed the loop on this story, or at least this installment of it, for me.
I received a copy of this audiobook from the author at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Rebecca Greene did a very nice job. She was a very good fit for Brooke. She had these very believable little kid voices, which she used for the kids, but also for the young animals bird Brooke befriends on her adventures. She had an excellent way of imbuing quite the range of emotions into Brooke’s character.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful