This Way, Charlie

by Caron Levis (Author) Charles Santoso (Illustrator)

This Way, Charlie
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
From the award-winning team behind Ida, Always comes a story about a friendship that grows between a blind horse and a gruff goat. All the animals at the Open Bud Ranch can see that Jack likes keeping his space to himself. But when Charlie arrives, he doesn't see Jack at all. He's still getting used to seeing out of only one of his eyes. The two get off to a bumpy start. At first, Jack is anxious and distrustful. But one day, he summons his courage and guides Charlie to his favorite sunlit field: this way, Charlie. And so begins a powerful friendship that will be tested by life's storms--but will ultimately change each life for the better.
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Kirkus Reviews

Memorable and moving. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright 2020 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--Open Bud Ranch is an animal sanctuary for injured or rescued animals. Cows, dogs, cats, and sheep all reside there including Jack, a misanthropic goat who keeps to himself. That is, until a horse named Charlie arrives. Charlie is energetic and full of good cheer, and is blind in one eye. The two form a friendship and readers observe how Jack becomes Charlie's eyes on the farm, helping him navigate the terrain. We also get a brief insight into Jack's abusive past, explaining his aloofness. One day, after Charlie has lost sight in both eyes, the two companions are caught in a terrible storm and Charlie can't hear his friend's instructions over the roar of the wind. Charlie becomes trapped and it is up to Jack to overcome his reticence and rouse the other animals for help. VERDICT Based on a true friendship between a horse and a goat, this picture book has much to offer for young readers about life's challenges and how we handle them. Levis (Ida, Always) excels at crafting emotional, but never saccharine, tales of friendship. Strongly recommend for purchase.--Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, MI

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This gentle story's positive messages about patience, kindness, and friendship are reinforced in soft illustrations that resemble impressionistic watercolors. . . Memorable and moving." — "Kirkus"
Caron Levis
Caron Levis is the author of several picture books, including This Way, Charlie and Ida, Always, both illustrated by Charles Santoso; Stop That Yawn!, illustrated by LeUyen Pham; and Mama's Work Shoes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. She is a professor and advisor for the New School's Writing for Children/YA MFA program and a licensed social worker. Levis uses drama and writing to explore books, feelings, and imagination with kids through her author workshops. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit her online at Charles Santoso loves drawing little things in his little journal and dreaming about funny, wondrous stories. He is the creator of Happy Hippo and has illustrated many books, including Levis's This Way, Charlie and Ida, Always; Joe McGee's Peanut Butter & series; and the New York Times bestseller Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. His drawings and paintings have been exhibited in Australia, North America, and France, and he is based in Singapore. You can visit him at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Harry N. Abrams
Publication date
April 20, 2020
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV002090 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Farm Animals
JUV002130 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Horses
Library of Congress categories
Ranch life
Blindness in animals

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