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 whiI 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 Summer, she mutely nodded her weak little head, "yes."
The mesmerizing chapter where Garnet gets to stay up all night visiting the lime kiln in the woods with her father and brother was especially poignant. I slyly watched my daughter's expressions as she listened to the account in which Garnet hears of the orphan, Eric's, life experiences/hardships of hitch-hiking and train-hopping across the country working from hand-to-mouth without family or a friend in the world to provide for him. My daughter's eyes were wide and thoughtful as she listened, and I have to admit that I think we both felt much more grateful for our myriad blessings after remembering there are millions each day who have a much, much harder path than we walk. And (SPOILER ALERT!) hooray, that Garnet's family was so kind to take Eric in. It's just plain uplifting to hear of people living the golden rule--it gives one hope that we can all act so altruistically when faced with similarly difficult situations.
So, there isn't much of a "linking thread" that ties the stand-alone stories of this book together. No real plot to speak of. But...Enright's lyrical prose and accurate details of life are so spot-on, that I could devour this book again and again.
For instance, I laughed aloud this week while reading about Garnet loving to visit her friend Citronella's house. Because, as the narrator puts it, there are certain smell's to every home, and Citronella's home smelled like cleaning soap, and baked goods. And there was always a cake to be found at the right time in the Hauser's kitchen. Even the description of Citronella's thick curtain of yellow bangs flopping on her forehead as she comes down the stairs, to greet Garnet at the door, made me smile. Great details that capture life on the page and give us a peek into the slow country ways of a young girl in the Wisconsin backwoods of the the 1930s.
An enchanting story of youth. If you haven't read it yet, you're in for a treat!...more
This picture book was a pleasure to pore over. I know it's a delight from the get-go when I find myself asking my three year-old if we can read it befThis picture book was a pleasure to pore over. I know it's a delight from the get-go when I find myself asking my three year-old if we can read it before bed each night. "Hey, why don't you go find that Bunny book and we'll check out the farm section?"
As a former freelance illustrator, I was impressed with the design, charm, and style of the illustrations--they're like a chic version of the Richard Scarry drawings from way-back-when. There's even a "bad guy," Benny Badger, that fascinated my daughter. (I don't know if that's good or bad, but she wouldn't rest until she'd spotted him on each page.)
Over all, a pleasant find from the library....more