BLUEBIRD SUMMER by Deborah Hopkinson


Age Range: 6 - 9
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Ecology, change, love, and loss are all part of this affecting picture book by the author of Maria’s Comet (1999). Mags and her little brother Cody spend summers with their Grandpa on his farm, although most of it has been sold off since Grandma died. The children notice right away that the bluebirds don’t come anymore, and Cody wonders if they only liked Grandma. But the children find out that bluebirds need places to nest and were attracted by what she grew in her garden, so they set out to put it all to rights: Mags plants and weeds, and Cody researches bluebirds in secret and makes his own special contribution. How hard Grandpa and the children miss Grandma suffuses the text, and when Grandpa comes around to help make sure the bluebirds will return, the moment is very full indeed. The gouache and oil paintings hold just the right tone of bright summer memory: the text pages are strewn with stray flowers and images that reflect the full-page picture they face. Small touches abound, like grandpa’s shirt reflecting the blue of the birds, or a decorated initial twined with a flower that begins with that letter. Grandma and grandpa are not wizened and gray but appear to be in their 50s, making grandma’s loss more poignant and Grandpa’s activity rational. An author’s note on bluebirds and their habitats concludes the book. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 30th, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-17398-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001


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