Railway Jack by KT Johnston and illustrated by César Samaniego is such an amazingly inspirational story about a disabled man and the service animal, a monkey called Jack, who changes his life. After losing both of his legs in an accident, Jim struggled to keep up with the daily requirements of his job. He soon gets Jack, a monkey to whom he teaches various aspects of his job that he now finds difficult to complete, such as pulling the levers to change the tracks. As people learn about the monkey working with the railway inspector, concerns arise as to the safety of the situation and so Jim and Jack find themselves having to prove their capabilities and worth.
This was truly a wonderful tale, told and illustrated in the most beautiful of ways. Often I’ve found that it can be very easy for others to write off those with disabilities as being incapable of certain jobs or activities but Jim and Jack’s story puts to bed those sorts of ideas. It was also truly fantastic to see how a service animal can make such an impactful change to the life of someone who is disabled. For Jim, Jack provided him with the ability to continue working in general but also within a job that he loved and had held for years.
The illustrations are exquisite and will do an amazing job of keeping young children engaged in this truly inspiring account. This is the kind of story that I could see myself using at work as I would love to introduce this little piece of history to many of my students. I am exceedingly grateful to have had the opportunity to have read this book and I definitely imagine I will be looking to it in the future.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.