Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: April 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Disability, Animals, Adaptation, Friendship


Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.


I have a soft spot for picture books based on real life events, especially meaningful ones such as this one. How is it possible for a 32-page book with perhaps 300-400 words in total to bring me to tears?

It does seem impossible, but it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality, and quality is what this book definitely delivers. Quality story, quality characters, and real emotions.

This is the story of Jessica – aka the author – who loses her leg and must re-learn to do all that seemed to be so simple in the past, all that she took for granted, like opening the refrigerator door or picking up the telephone.

But Jessica can’t do it alone. She needs help. And who else wants to help more than Rescue, a black Labrador? No one. Really, no one. This lovely dog is so eager to help that Jessica and Rescue form an instant bond.

Rescue was supposed to be a seeing eye dog, but unfortunately he wasn’t right for the job, so his family trained his as a service dog, thus putting pressure on him to succeed at his new job. And succeed at his new job he does.

Don’t you just love heart-warming stories like this one? Stories that tackle real life matters? Of course, I find wonderful fantasy picture books and would read them any day, but there’s something special about contemporary books that are written not from a place of imagination, but from real emotions triggered by real events.

Please read this one to your child (or yourself) if you have the time because it will not disappoint you. Also, be sure to have a tissue next to you!


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