Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship” as Want to Read:
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,416 ratings  ·  325 reviews
Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire.

Rescue thought he'd grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog -- it's the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he's better suited to being a service dog, he's worried that he's not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a gir
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Candlewick Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rescue & Jessica, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rescue & Jessica

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,416 ratings  ·  325 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tatiana by: Yalsa awards
Cried twice reading this to my kid. Then spent half an hour talking about disability and service dogs with him (couldn’t bring myself to address Boston marathon bombing yet). I think this justifies 5 stars.
Now as a story in and of itself Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Canging Friendship has been a sweet and encouraging account of how the former, how author Jessica Kensky (who along with her husband and fellow author Patrick Downes' was severely injured during the Boston Marathon terrorism attack and had to have both of her legs amputated) is teamed up with a service dog named Rescue (a Black Labrador Retriever that did not have the skills to become a seeing-eye dog for the blind but has ended up being t ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This story is so powerful. The writer is a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who based this story on her own life experiences but following a young girl going through the same thing. I love this change. It's perfect for kids. It's relatable and deep enough to get the point across but also has a child as the main character so kids can see themselves in this situation.

The pictures were beautiful and I loved how the dog had a voice as well. It was inspiring and didn't sugar coat anything but also d
Cristina Monica
I have a soft spot for picture books based on real life events, especially meaningful ones such as this one. How is it possible for a 32-page book with perhaps 300-400 words in total to bring me to tears?

It does seem impossible, but it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality, and quality is what this book definitely delivers. Quality story, quality characters, and real emotions.

This is the story of Jessica – aka the author – who loses her leg and must re-learn to do all that seemed to
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cybils, picture-book
Jessica has lost the use of her legs, and Rescue has been told he will become a service dog rather than a seeing-eye dog. Then they find each other and learn to help each other. Clear and moving text accompanied with gentle illustrations.
Our Meri (14) read this aloud to the family tonight. Lovely story.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Inspired by the true story of Jessica Kensky who was injured in 2013's Boston Marathon bombing, this fictionalized account casts Jessica as a young girl who becomes a double amputee. The story tells how she met Rescue, the special dog who became her helper, and dear companion. It's a touching tale, though I would have preferred a little less of the dog's inner thoughts, and a more thorough look at how he was trained to perform various tasks. I've always found it amazing how these animals are tau ...more
Gary Anderson
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship tells the side-by-side nonfiction stories of a service dog in training and a young woman recovering from the loss of her legs. Rescue, the service dog, initially doubts his abilities but eventually becomes confident in the wide range of ways he supports Jessica. Similarly, Jessica struggles emotionally and physically with the loss of her legs, but with Rescue’s help she bravely copes and adapts to the changes in her life. The back matter reveals tha ...more
Angie Thompson
An inspiring story of the partnership between a girl and her service dog. I loved the way the perspective shifted between the two of them! Sometimes picture books don't translate well to audio, but there was only one place where I felt like I had missed something by not being able to see the illustrations. A great introduction to the topic of service dogs for kids!
Michele Knott
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book means so much to me - as someone who has seen loved ones go through trauma (different from the book), there were parts I could relate to. I'm glad this book is here.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I mean did I almost cry in public reading this? Yes. Yes, I did.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books About Disability, Service Dogs & Unexpected Challenges
Husband-and-wife team and first-time co-authors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes relate the parallel stories of Rescue the service dog and Jessica, the double-amputee with whom Rescue is eventually paired, in this immensely moving picture-book. Dog and human must each contend with the unexpected path their life takes, and their uncertainty about their own ability to succeed on that path. Rescue had expected to be a seeing eye dog, like his family, while Jessica had never thought to lose first o ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-dogs
This inspiring, almost-true story shows how a trained service dog can help someone who has lost both legs. The story is based on Jessica Kensky, who lost her legs as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing; however, the character Jessica in the story is much younger than the real woman. But that does not limit the impact of the story. In addition, the story also conveys service dog Rescue's thoughts. The digital illustrations do a great job of depicting and extending the story.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it

This is a children’s story book written by one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Although it is written by in adult, the story is written from the perspective of a younger girl. It tells the tale of her challenges as a new amputee and the relationship she forms with her service dog, Rescue, who becomes a service dog after failing to meet the criteria for a seeing-eye dog.
Aliza Werner
Jessica's journey as a double amputee after the Boston Marathon bombing, aided by Rescue, a service dog. Their relationship is heartwarming and hopeful, as life and love goes on after that tragic event.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship is a nonfiction, inclusion picture book that is based on a true story. This Monarch Award Nominee of 2020 talks about the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog that inspires all readers no matter what age group. Rescue & Jessica is the story of Jessica Kensky’s who takes on the struggling battle of recovering after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing which robbed her of the use of legs. Throughout the story, we are seeing the struggle th ...more
This book made me tear up, oh my goodness. I think this would be great for kids to read, whether they have physical disabilities or not. And the fact that this is based on Kensky's life makes it even more touching and powerful because people can still learn from her experiences.
Taylor Heersink
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dogs are my favorite animals, so this book was one I loved from very first glance at the cover! I have spent a lot of time with service dogs in elementary schools while they sit there and have children read to them, so this book was one I knew I that would hit my heart hard. This story is all about a sweet dog names rescue who is ready to grow up and be a seeing eye dog, since everyone else in his family are seeing eye dogs. He ends up becoming a service dog for Jessica, who needs him desperatel ...more
Shaye Miller
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Both Rescue and Jessica’s lives have taken different paths than what they expected. Rescue was originally intended to be a Seeing Eye dog. But one day, his trainer realizes he’s meant to work beside his partner as a service dog, instead. Meanwhile, Jessica (who’s illustrated as a young girl) endured an accident and had to have part of her leg removed. When these two are paired, the world becomes a better place for both.

For children, this book will allow many questions and answers as it showcases
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Kensky, Jessica and Patrick Downes Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, illustrated by Scott Magoon. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick, 2018. $17. 9780763696047.

Jessica was badly injured and not only lost one of her legs, but both of them. Rescue thought he was going to be a seeing-eye dog, but instead he became a service dog. Together, Rescue and Jessica made a loving place for both of them to enjoy the world to its fullest.

Though the book shows a young Jessica with her family helping after h
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent story of both the skills and the emotional support provided by a working support dog. The two authors are survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and both lost limbs. This story blends fiction and fact, drawing on their real-life experiences with Rescue, a support dog who has greatly impacted their lives.

There is plenty of information provided about what support dogs can do and the tasks they can perform. What comes through the most, however, is the loving bond between human and do
Marisa Torres
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rescue & Jessica: A Life Changing Friendship is based on the real story of Jessica Kensky who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing and her service dog Rescue. This book is the 2019 recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award. Students can benefit from being exposed to the disability representation in this book as well as the positive message of overcoming adversity.

Students will be interested in this book because the illustrations help them discern context clues to follow along in the sto
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: disability and dog requests
A touching story of a young woman who loses one leg and is adjusting to her life, when she is told that they need to amputate her other leg too. Rescue doesn't make it as a seeing eye dog, but after service dog training is paired with Jessica. Rescue's training and Jessica's struggles are dealt with appropriately, though Rescue's worries seemed a bit contrived. However, I was impressed that the authors are both survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and I was truly impressed by Magoon's quote: ...more
This is a good introduction to how service animals assist their humans and will prompt young readers to think about what their lives might be like if they were differently-abled. I struggled a little with Rescue's voice since it read as decidedly human rather than canine and it seemed like more of a device than anything else - would a dog really think a human is "pretty"? Regardless, I think this does what it sets out to do and will definitely be a welcome addition to picture books about differe ...more
Lauren Voland
I liked this book. It was about a dog named Rescue and a girl named Jessica. Rescue was supposed to be a Seeing Eye dog but ended up being a service dog. Jessica was hurt and lost her legs. Rescue and Jessica both had their worries with their new lives. Throughout the book, the audience is able to see what they are thinking. Rescue soon becomes Jessica’s service dog and everything is great. I liked seeing how they went through different changes in their lives and overcame them with the help of o ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An inspirational story for all ages. Jessica lost a leg as a result of the Boston Marathon vombing and Tehen has to have her other leg amputated. Rescue is her therapy dog. The relationship between them is described with great affection and children will be inspired about how the relationship saves them both and also how one moves their life forward in the face of great adversity . If your u get a chance to hear them speak about this book go for it.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh boy. Cue the waterworks.

Stories about military dogs or service dogs always get me. That Rescue & Jessica is based on a true story of a Boston Marathon victim only makes it more special. The disability was handled with honesty yet care (this is a children's picture book, after all). The lovely illustrations especially brought the reader in to the struggles and triumphs experienced by the characters.
Interesting story, with cute illustrations. The story was formatted well, with Rescue and Jessica's stories mirroring each other until they finally met.

The book ends with the sentiment that 'Rescue didn't just rescue Jessica. They rescued each other.' Unfortunately, that struck me as just a little too sappy, especially since Rescue would have just been assigned to someone else if Jessica hadn't needed him. Still, a cute story of friendship and overcoming obstacles.
Laura Giessler
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks-nf
Narrative non-fiction about the friendship between a woman who becomes a double amputee (due to the Boston Marathon bombing, we learn in the Author's Note) and her service dog. The text and illustrations do a good job of conveying the significance of this relationship in a sensitive way. I'm not sure if the story would work well for "point of view" or not; I wondered if there was some anthropomorphism going on, but I will leave that to my dog-loving friends who know better than I.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short nonfiction book based on a service dog named Rescue and a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing had me in tears from page 1 to the very end. A good book to help children understand why someone may have a service dog or to help understand that everyone's body is different. A good book to help adults with coping or ptsd.

Oh boy. I highly recommend this book but be prepared for tears from yourself and questions from your child.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Remember Balloons
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star
  • The Day You Begin
  • Thank You, Omu!
  • Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away
  • The Rough Patch
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle
  • Let the Children March
  • Yasmin the Explorer
  • Fox the Tiger
  • Borrowing Bunnies: A Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits
  • Hello Lighthouse
  • The Little Red Fort
  • The Proudest Blue
  • Dreamers
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
  • The Truth About Bears: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals
See similar books…
Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes are a married couple who were both injured during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Jessica’s service dog, Rescue, joined their family in 2014. Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
53 likes · 22 comments