Title: All the Impossible Things
Author: Lindsay Lackey
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge
I have no idea what one *should* read during a pandemic. But I do know this: falling in love with a book can make the weight of the world a tiny bit lighter.
All the Impossible Things opens with 11-year-old “Red” being taken away from her current foster family. Throughout the book, readers get glimpses into why life with “The Mom” and her three boys was so difficult without getting into any abusive and disturbing detail. We also learn that Red’s been in foster care since her mom went to jail, presumably for drug possession. Red’s bad experience in foster care is balanced by an attentive social worker. And things really start to look up for Red when she’s taken to live with Celine and Jackson, owners of the Groovy Petting Zoo – a place where Red might actually “be a fit”.
That’s not to say things are easy. Without giving too much away, Red must navigate all kinds of difficult situations that force her to control her wind. The magic behind Red and her mom’s ability to control the wind is not really explained but serves as a good way of showing Red’s emotion. It also creates a plot point when Tuk, a 400 pound tortoise, goes missing after a destructive stormed caused by Red’s anger over letters to her mom being returned unopened.
The relationships in this story are beautifully rendered, particularly between Red and her grandmother. Although Gamma dies of cancer before the story even begins, she leaves Red with a book of impossible things which helps Red bond with Celine and come to realize the hard truth about her mom’s addiction to pills and inability to parent. The book is sad but it’s not all sad – there are many heart warming moments and both the farm animals and Red’s friend, Marvin (maker of cooking videos for his channel, Kitchen Kahuna, and creator of the “spineo” ), provide some much needed levity.
One of my sons loved this book and the other was turned off by the cover. To get a better idea of how the target audience might respond, I recommend this review on NPStation. Not only do I love her enthusiasm for All the Impossible Things, there are a lot of other great videos to check out on her channel. Plus, for those of us currently homeschooling, I think creating a video book review is a great project for kids of all ages!