by Lisa Graff.
From BookList, August 1, 2009, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Nine-year-old Annie knows that bad things can happen even if you're careful. Her older brother Jared died even though he went to the doctor. So now she is extra careful. Annie pores over a medical encyclopedia, wears a helmet in the car, preemptively wraps her ankles for bike rides, and never roller-skates down the hill with one eye closed the way she and Jared loved to do. A fight over the funeral of her best friend's hamster leaves Annie even more alone, but she finds an unlikely friend in the new neighbor, Mrs. Finch, who lends her Charlotte's Web, reveals that she is a recent widow, and helps her learn to "close the umbrella" that she has put up to shield herself since Jared's death. Annie grapples with what to do to mark Jared's approaching birthday, and together with his best friend, Tommy, they find a fitting tribute to joyfully remember Jared. This tender book about love and loss benefits from Annie's quirky personality, which lightens the serious tone. Booth, Heather.