Franklin, Kristine L. Dove Song. Candlewick, 1999. ISBN 0-7636-0409-7. $16.99. 190 pp. B 5-8 FI Reviewed by Lanell Rabner Can eleven-year-old Bobbie Lynn and her thirteen-year-old brother, Mason, hide their mother’s delicate” condition when their father is declared missing in action, just 32 days after he leaves for Viet Nam? Mother always has bad spells when dad has to leave, but this time is the worst. After hearing the news about dad, she came home from the Piggly Wiggly and went to bed, for good. Mason said, “we’re going to act normal, get it? N-O-R-M-A-L!” But how can you act normal when your mother sleeps all day some days, rocks and sobs other days, and then tries to shoot God with a rifle at night? Bobbie Lynn’s anchor to reality comes in the form of the tiny, yet feisty Wendy Kathleen Feeney. Wendy can call doves by whistling through her thumbs and loves to skip because it’s almost like flying. She has a blind, retarded twin sister who she pushes around the yard on a couch on wheels and everybody at school thinks she’s loony. Wendy believes in guardian angels and says if you listen closely you will hear their wings rustle, just like the wings of the doves. Bobbie Lynn and Mason are determined to protect their mother; they promised their dad they would take care of her. But what if dad never comes home? Dove Song is a heartwarming story about friendship and our need to not be alone. Bobbie Lynn and Mason discover that it is okay, even normal, to ask for help. Franklin’s characters are comfortably down-to-earth, yet somewhat underdeveloped. The story is quick paced and at times is disjointed. Despite these minor flaws, Dove Song is a good read that warms the heart, lifts the spirit and reminds us all that guardian angels just don’t fly around heaven.”
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