Now that his best friend, Joseph, is out of the hospital and returning to school, second-grader Ty hopes things will be just as they used to be, but he finds that change is a normal part of life.
Excitement and trepidation govern Ty Perry’s mood in the first weeks at school when Joseph returns. Ty’s expectations that their relationship will resume uninterrupted are confounded when Joseph’s recovery induces much curiosity and attention from the rest of the class, leaving Ty confused, sometimes jealous and wondering if he can share his longtime friend. Focused on his own feelings and thoughts, Ty seems to ignore Joseph’s reticence about his return and what he missed at school. An incident at a nursing home where Ty is visiting with his mother and the rescue of an injured wild bird force Ty to approach life more realistically, learn about responsibility, and in the end, appreciate and understand Joseph better. Ty is a somewhat self-centered 7-year-old; while this is developmentally appropriate, it also makes him hard to relate to, unlike such chapter-book age-mates as Stephanie Greene’s Owen Foote and Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho. Given his solipsism, his insightful revelation at the end—“Things change and life goes on and it’s not always easy”—is quite the mature conclusion.
Humor and humility mark Ty’s arc in his third outing. (Fiction. 6-9)