As an adult and former elementary teacher, I approached this from an adult point of view with life experiences. I was totally involved emotionally with the main character Annie Richards, her parents, and the woman across the street who just moved into the neighborhood. I don't know what a child would be thinking as he/she read this novel, but I'm sure they would relate to Annie and the other characters emotionally as well.
I love the way the author portrayed Annie's unusual problem of dealing with grief, and the way she had the other child characters interact with Annie while keeping their own special characteristics. I especially liked the way she handled two best friends breaking up, bringing in another character to stir the pot, and including enough humor to make me chuckle.
At times, though, the teacher in me wanted to reach in the book and give her parents a couple of good head slaps! But Annie took care of that in her own way.
This is not a sad book, it is touching, sweet, at times funny, and hopeful as it deals with a family overcoming grief. In the end you come away knowing everything is going to be all right. But the journey to that end is just plain wonderful.