Bittersweet Summer

162p. CIP. Albert Whitman. 2012. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-0763-6. LC 2011008570.
Gr 3–5—This sequel to Turkey Monster Thanksgiving (2003) and Tales of Spring Break (2005, both Albert Whitman) continues the story of nine-year-old Katie Jordan; her younger brother, Tyler; and her devoted (if slightly overwhelmed by single parenthood) father. Katie's best friend has left for the summer, leaving her with scheming Claire Plummer, a sometimes-friend from across the street. Claire is conspiring to fix up their former fourth-grade teacher with her widowed father. Katie is not convinced that this is the best plan, especially since she would like to see Ms. Morgan become her new mother, as her own mother has abandoned the family to pursue a music career. Even worse, Katie's father has broken the news that they might be moving before the summer is out. Written in Katie's voice, this book, which stands on its own, paints a believable portrait of the child's concerns. Featuring two single fathers in very different situations, the author handles the new realities of modern families with a skillful mix of candor and gentle humor. Emotionally resonant and fresh, this is an engaging choice for readers with a penchant for realistic fiction.—Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY
As summer starts, Katie daydreams about her divorced father marrying her fourth-grade teacher and worries that her family might have to move. Then Katie’s famous-singer mother comes to town for a concert. Smith (Turkey Monster Thanksgiving) deals with Katie and her little brother’s poignant longing for their mother’s permanent return--and subsequent realization that she won’t--with humor and sympathy.

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