FICTION

The Summer We Found the Baby

Candlewick. Aug. 2020. 192p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763660079.
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Gr 3-6–Told in three voices, this is a quick-paced story about a Long Island beach town, a mysterious baby, the sorrows of war, and the strength of unwavering hope. Eleven-year-old Julie and six-year-old Martha Sweet are on their way to attend the dedication of the new Belle Beach library when they discover a baby on the steps. In their haste to save the day, they don’t notice an envelope drop to the ground; but their neighbor, Bruno Ben-Eli, does. Bruno has bigger concerns, however. Having received a secret letter from his brother overseas, Bruno is on his way to run an important errand in New York City. But now that he’s a witness, he can’t let Julie kidnap a baby! What unfolds is a jumbled time line of events told by all three children. Each chapter brings new insight, and more intrigue. Will the library’s opening be a success? Will they hear news from Bruno’s brother? Will Julie and Bruno become friends? And most importantly: Who is the baby in the basket? With expert character development and clever narration from three distinct perspectives, Hest seamlessly immerses her readers into the hopes and fears of war-time America. It’s a simple premise: A baby found alone in a basket. Yet the complicated layering of events makes for a truly engaging and heartwarming story of steadfastness and solidarity.
VERDICT Young readers will be drawn in by the mystery, stay for the characters, and sigh contentedly when the story draws to a close.

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