Eric, the Accidental Hero 
by Jan Edwards
Trafford Publishing

"Parents blame themselves but sometimes things just happen despite all their good intentions."

This short book introduces readers to Eric, a walking, talking, monkey from an agency that uses animals to help get families in strife back on track. Eric is highly functioning and assigns chores, discipline, etc. to help bring his assigned family together. In the case of the Solomon's, the father left to find himself leaving behind mom and three kids, one of who struggles greatly with discipline and academics. Eric arrives to show them all that there is hope and within them each is a special strength.

The book tackles the very grown-up problems that can be present in single-parent households and the confusion that older children feel when abandoned by one of their parents. The author attempts to use the monkey character to infuse lightness and hope while still teaching lessons about the core of family relations. The text is aimed at older children as it contains a heavy subject line that seems to have more sadness and anger than joy and hope. The author has identified a subject that is probably farther reaching than most realize, and her boldness in attempting to make light and positive of it is refreshing. The text could be a bit more upbeat to make it more appropriate for a wider readership and more fitting for the silliness of the monkey character, but as it is, with a troubled teenager at the core of the story line, it is pointed and direct with the problems faced by that age group when left undirected by strong parents.

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