This drama by Patricia MacLachlan is published by Yearling Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books and is written for kids ages 10 to 13. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

A grieving family finds an abandoned baby in a basket on their driveway and decides to keep the baby until the mother can return for her. Caring for Sophie and then letting her go help the family deal with a death in their family.

Christian Beliefs

A verse from "Amazing Grace" is quoted. However, "Dirge Without Music," a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that provides a bleak, inaccurate depiction of a grieving person, is also quoted and is pivotal to the plot. Noticeably absent is the presence or comfort of God. The family does not attend church, but a minister presides over a family member's funeral.

Authority Roles

Parents and other adults are plainly flawed, but they are treated respectfully. In the early pages of the book, Larkin mentions that her father had two whiskeys before dinner: "He danced . . between the first glass of whiskey that made him happy and the second that made him sad."

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Grief
  • Death
  • Family Dynamics
  • Each life has significance
  • The importance of expressing emotions

Note: Patricia MacLachlan is an award-winning author (Newbery, ALA, etc.).

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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