SUMMER WITCHES by Theresa Tomlinson


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Sarah's discovery that new neighbor Susanna has the makings of a fine friend despite her clunky shoes presages more complex realizations about the unusual woman. Sarah has enjoyed pretending that old Lily is a witch; after all, she's deaf and can't hear the jibes. But after the two girls cement their friendship while transforming the bomb shelter in Sarah's garden into their private place, Sarah finds a child's secret note tucked away there. The girls learn that Lily was the note's author, and that a terrible experience during WW II thwarted her learning to speak; they also get to know her as a productive, caring person. Meanwhile, Lily's sister Rose (the local librarian) has led them to consider the ancient, destructive witch stereotype and contrast it with the reality that Lily exemplifies: a wise woman, skilled with herbs and healing, whose differences may provoke distrust. With admirable skill, Tomlinson weaves her serious theme into an appealing, accessible story with likable, well- individualized characters and a neatly satisfying conclusion: the girls coax Lily into visiting the shelter for the first time since her trauma, thus themselves becoming the sort of witches whose ``magic'' is healing. This fine American debut is introduced by an eminently sensible note explaining some of the British terms and giving readers credit for the ability to figure the others out. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-02-789206-9
Page count: 83pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991


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