Rosen (This Is Our House, 1996, etc.) has written five short stories about protagonists on the cusp of adolescence in tales that are honest, captivating, and occasionally inspiring.
In "The Trust of a Dolphin," Matt, who is hindered by a partially-plastic hip, realizes his dream when he lands a job at a summer camp for teens interested in ocean life, and swims with a pod of dolphins. The best story of the collection, it is the deft blend of vivid detail and spare prose that makes palpable Matt's excitement and his joy at overcoming a minor disability. Learning to interact with others as equals is at the center of Frayda's story, "The Walkers of Hawthorn Park." Although her grandmother is a kind-hearted woman willing to spend hours teaching her gardening, she wants Frayda to keep her distance from her strange neighbors, transients who live in a group home next door. Relationships with grandparents are part of other stories, too, where young characters learn to accept their aging relatives' physical and mental limitations and show them their love. Rosen's message is uniformly empowering: Even in the face of disease, divorce, or disability, the human heart is truly big enough.