The Boy on the Porch ISBN: 9781783440863
Published by Andersen Press, 2014
Marta and John, a young childless couple living in the country somewhere in rural America, awake one morning to find a young lad asleep on their front porch. Not knowing quite what to do, they watch over him until he wakes. They soon discover he doesn't talk, but he gives them a note which says: 'Plees taik cair of Jacob. He is a good boy. Wil be bac wen we can.' Believing this means they will return for the child soon, Marta and John feed him and make him a bed. They are loving souls who take in the odd abandoned animal, and Jacob appears to be another such. They soon learn to love the boy very much and discover that he is talented both musically and artistically. He communicates by tapping, and he also loves the animals on the farm, riding the cow and capering with the dog and goats. By bartering at the local shop, they acquire a guitar and painting materials for Jacob, and he is soon teaching himself the guitar and painting remarkably brightly coloured pictures that Marta and John don't quite understand. However, they are proud of his ability and accept him exactly as he is. They realise, though, that his parents must be found, and when they explain the situation to the local sheriff, he promises to try to find them. Nothing comes of this, but one day after many months have passed, a stranger in a truck arrives at the farm, claiming to be Jacob's father. Marta and John are shocked at this development because the father seems disreputable, and they really want to keep the boy. The sheriff says he must go, however, when the father produces a birth certificate, so they must sadly accept this. They are bereft, and it is only some time later when they learn about fostering children that they begin to take on other waifs and strays and find solace in loving children who need their help. We do see Jacob again too, which makes for a very happy ending. This is a gentle and moving story about people who have love to give in abundance and who use that love in the best way possible. Brilliant and life-enhancing.