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Thimble Summer

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,019 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
A few hours after nine-year-old Garnet Linden finds a silver thimble in the dried-up riverbed, the rains come and end the long drought on the farm. The rains bring safety for the crops and the livestock and money for Garnet's father. The summer proves to be interesting and exciting in so many different ways. Every day brings adventure of some kind to Garnet and her best fr ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published July 1st 1987 by Turtleback Books (first published 1938)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Qt
Jun 22, 2008 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Another Elizabeth Enright book--and another perfectly charming, great-for-summer novel. I love the writing style and the way the simple things are described in such a beautiful way. It also gives a neat glimpse at 1930s farm life, and I loved the descriptions of the town Garnet, the protagonist, visits. A lovely book!
Leah
Jun 24, 2009 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: fiction
Elizabeth Enright is one of my favorite authors in all the world. This book exemplifies how she could paint a picture of a child's world with just the right details to make it amazingly clear. Her insight into what makes life interesting to a young mind leads to sentences with startling evocative perfection.
Reading this book makes me feel like a young girl growing up on a Wisconsin farm in the 1930's. I adore this book and cannot recommend it strongly enough to absolutely everyone.
Catherine
Feb 18, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why didn't I know about Elizabeth Enright when I was growing up? I read everything by Maud Hart Lovelace and Lois Lenski, but she passed me by. Enright's books are just the type that I adored when I was 9 or 10 years old--a bit old-fashioned, but smart, with characters who were adventurous and curious and made messes and hung out with the coolest grownups.
Emily
Elizabeth Enright is one of my favorite writers, but her 1939 Newbery Award winner about one summer in the life of Garnet, an active and sunburned (yet bookish) Wisconsin farm girl, is my least favorite of her novels. I picked it up recently for a book discussion in the Children's Book Group, and although I'd read it multiple times, including once before as an adult, I found very little of it had remained with me, except for the vivid cover illustration (Enright's own work) and the episode when ...more
Deana
Mar 05, 2008 Deana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not care for this book. It was a Newberry winner, apparently, but... I dunno. There wasn't really a connecting plot through the whole story. Each chapter was a totally separate story, if you ask me. The only connection was the characters and they all took place in the same summer. But it could have just as easily been a series of short stories, you know?

For instance, the second chapter is a story where Garnet (the main character) and her friend are listening to her friend's grandmother tel
...more
Jonathan
Jun 13, 2008 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As most readers know, any book written by Elizabeth Enright (see my book recomendation of Gone-Away Lake; 4-star) is a work of art, but this book is certainly the highlight of her career. Garnet (Enright comes up with the weirdest names) finds a silver thimble by the lake, and she's sure it's magic when the summer proves to be so interesting to her. Her prized runt (this part is thought by some to be a ripp-off of Charlotte's Web) wins a blue ribbon at the fair, and there was the adoption of a b ...more
Traci
As I slowly muddle my way through the Newbery award winners (starting with the 1920s and working my way to present day), I find that there are a few gems scattered throughout that seem to align with my reading tastes, and this is definitely one of them.

I'm generally game for the farm setting, whether it be something bleak like Tess of the D'Urbervilles or something more lighthearted and positive like Thimble Summer. Plus, with a projected high of only 16 degrees today, I think I've needed a litt
...more
Jill
Sep 20, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 9+ or younger for read-aloud
Shelves: newbery-medal
This won the Newbery in 1939. After I read The Cat Who Went To Heaven (1931 Newbery winner) I was a little gun-shy about the 1930s winners. I was starting to think all the early Newberys were duds but this book proved me wrong! It's a quick read and a nice feel-good story. The author has a way of describing things that reminds me of my relatives in Western Pennsylvania--descriptive and colorful but no frills language that gets to the heart of what's going on. I love that kind of story telling. T ...more
Dillon
Nov 14, 2013 Dillon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright is a good book written in the 1930s. The main character finds a silver thimble which is magic. The main character’s name is Garnet, who is a tomboy. She wears overalls and walks around bare-footed. Garnet has a problem. It wouldn’t rain for a long time. Then Garnet went out and found the silver thimble. It rained as soon she got home. The next evening after it rained, in the middle of the night a boy appeared and was adopted by Garnet’s family. The next day sh ...more
Janis
Nov 14, 2009 Janis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story of a farm girl's summer adventures, set in 1930s Wisconsin, really captured my heart. Elizabeth Enright clearly remembered what it was like to be a child and evoked that state beautifully. I liked the characters, the seeming simplicity with which the story unfolded, and especially liked the descriptive writing ("The barn was huge and old; it lurched to one side like a bus going around a corner."). Enright won the 1939 Newbery for this one. I look forward to reading other books by this ...more
Jennifer
Jun 30, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: families with kids over 7
What a fun book to read aloud! I love Elizabeth Enright's style. Her descriptions are beautiful and the dialogue is easy to read. Vocabulary words pop up just often enough to encourage discussion and dictionary searches. This was a great book for identifying setting and its effect on the story.
Tricia Douglas
What a wonderful story! I love books that take me back to the good old days when families, neighbors and communities all helped each other. Work is a daily expectation and children take part as a natural part of their lives. Fun is not store-bought and loving the outdoors is where the entertainment is found. I liked the character of Garnet - she's feisty and independent, loves her family (most of the time) and finds magic in a simple silver thimble. Some of this story is based on the remembrance ...more
Kristen
Newbery Medal Winner--1939

Thimble Summer rounds out the 1930's Newbery winners, and we get another story about a girl rebelling against what is expected of her gender (I love that these books were not only available to girls at the time, but were also seen as quality literature). Like a lot of the early Newbery winners, this one had some fun moments--I'm particularly fond of Garnet's hitchhiking adventure--in what is essentially just a description of things happening over time (in this case, one
...more
Carol Arnold
Aug 01, 2015 Carol Arnold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another classic by Elizabeth Enright. I love this author even though I am an old grandma! I bought this book for my granddaugher's birthday, but had to re-read it before giving it to her. I love the simplicity of childhood in Mrs. Enright's books. Garnet's many adventures make for good reading. She got locked in a library after closing hours, she ran away from home, she hitchhiked, she got stuck on the top of a ferris wheel! This is good reading about a little girl who lived at a time when kids ...more
Anne Thomsen Lord
Jul 16, 2009 Anne Thomsen Lord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rural-life, 2009
Kate gave me this book from the Kearney Library mostly because the main character's name is Garnet, and Garnet currently happens to be my favorite girl name. I've been reading Thimble Summer on the bus the last week, and it has been wonderful. Enright's descriptions of rural Wisconsin are fantastic. They made me want to go out and pet a pig and take a trip to a county fair. I especially enjoyed Garnet's hitchhiking adventure and the addition of Eric to the Linden family. The drawings were excell ...more
Kathi
Aug 01, 2015 Kathi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sweet snapshot of events that occur during a little girl’s summer in 1939. At first, I was not particularly impressed by this time capsule of Garnet as a spunky heroine who finds adventures around her farm, but Elizabeth Enright’s excellent writing, interesting events, and believable family relationships stayed with me enough to recommend the book to children eight and older. Thimble Summer is reminiscent of Miracles of Maple Hill and Charlotte’s Web, but much simpler, with smaller con ...more
D.C.
Jun 19, 2015 D.C. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
The best thing this story has got going for it is that it transports you to a different time, when life was so much simpler, when worries were either minimal or nonexistent, and children had true fun. The children in this book ride on the roof of a car on the highway. I mean, think about that. If anyone tried that nowadays, their parents would be punished quite severely. The writing is also very, very solid as it should be in a short novel. But the story seemed strangely disconnected and incompl ...more
Jill
Feb 07, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
Jan 17, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys delving into the life of bygone eras.
I read and loved this when I first picked it up years ago as a young adult. And now, six children later, and a middle-aged mom, I spotted it again while searching for something memorable to read aloud to my eight-year-old who was listless with the flu this week. I wondered if she would enjoy it as much as I remembered liking it.

Let's just say that my daughter had no appetite for food, TV, or even sitting up for three days straight. But every time I asked her if she wanted to hear more of Thimble
...more
Krista
Sep 04, 2014 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele
Jan 31, 2013 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2013
4 and 1/2 stars.
I think all mothers wish for this type of lifestyle for their kids. Yes, we know there was more work but the idea that your kid could go hitchhiking and be educated and never hurt is no longer a possible thought.
This is one of those idyllic summers of a real sweetheart of a girl. I loved the author's drawings as well as the story. Old fashioned with lots of home-town values, good families and good neighbors. If you enjoy a clean, hardworking summer novel, you will love it.
Benji Martin
Oh looky here, ANOTHER 1930's Newbery winner about a tweenage tomboy. Don't get me wrong, I like tomboys. All evidence points towards my daughter being one. She's loud, rambunctious and mimics every move her big brother makes, but at some point you would think the editors of the 30's (or at least the Newbery committee) would have said, "umm. We've had a lot of these tomboy novels recently. Let's slow it down some." I mean I enjoyed all of the books independently, but together, they aren't really ...more
Kathleen Houlihan
Mar 13, 2009 Kathleen Houlihan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I re-read this book at least a couple times per year -- there is something so pleasant about the ritual of revisiting Garnet and her family on their farm; first waiting for the rain to come, then her adventures with Priscilla, the strange visitor, and then Garnet's own journey from home, only to return back again. The illustrations are simple pen and ink line drawings, but they convey the story's elements beautifully. This book is most definitely a classic.
Helen
May 21, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of those books for kids that just makes me feel all mushy inside. Like all of Elizabeth Enright's other books, and Sarah Plain and Tall et al, this takes me back to a time when things were tougher and simpler and little things mattered. And Enright sure knew how to paint a picture with words! Tomorrow I'll tell Miss 8 that I read her book while she was sleeping, and tonight I'll dream about hay and ice cream and turtles in the creek. Aah...
Michael Fitzgerald
Very pleasant, but not extraordinary. Something like Understood Betsy has a lot more going for it. I very much enjoyed Enright's illustrations, with such bold colors. Incidentally, the original cover Thimble Summer is far superior to the later one Thimble Summer where Timmy the pig is enormous. Just unrealistic to imagine her standing calmly with such a beast.

It's interesting to see how Enright's writing developed from Kintu to this to the Melendys to Gone-Away and how she frequently returns to
...more
Lalani
Nov 04, 2010 Lalani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
Quick, fun, and entertaining. I found myself thinking most about how unsupervised children used to be. Garnet wandered and wandered and wandered without any supervision at all. The results? She spent one night locked in the public library, and spent another day hitchhiking nineteen miles away and back. Oh, how free and simple things once were...
Carl Nelson
1939 Newbery Medal recipient.

Meh. I guess the depression-era Newbery committee had a thing for descriptively pastoral books where nothing much happened. The events of "Thimble Summer" were episodic, with no overall plot. The episodes were not all that intriguing--the county fair, a story from her grandmother, getting stuck in the library after closing, and each chapter seemed to go about three pages longer than necessary thanks to descriptive prose that over-dramatized nearly everything. Even th
...more
Joy
1939 Newbery Medal Winner

This is a great little book that follows Garnet's summer. It starts when she finds a thimble while swimming in the swimming hole and shortly after, the drought that has been threatening their crops breaks and it starts to rain again. The family takes on a homeless, hitchhiking boy to help with their new barn. This complicates the relationship between Garnet and her brother Jay because it's like he has a new "brother." She runs off to the local big town, 18 miles away and
...more
Darby
Apr 07, 2010 Darby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book in 1st grade by my teacher. I fell in love with it. I read it over and over for years....I'm 38 now and still find it as wonderful. I also began collecting silver thimbles then.....I now have quite a few. : )
Valerie Basham
Aug 20, 2013 Valerie Basham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We enjoyed this story of happy events during the exciting "Thimble Summer". Garnet Linden is a hoot, and the descriptions were great. Elizabeth Enright's use of the simile throughout the book was excellent. Read and enjoy!
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Elizabeth Enright (1907-1968) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, but spent most of her life in or near New York City. Her mother was a magazine illustrator, while her father was a political cartoonist. Illustration was Enright's original career choice and she studied art in Greenwich, Connecticut; Paris, France; and New York City. After creating her first book in 1935, she developed a taste, and quic ...more
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