Amanda's Reviews > Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
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's review
Jul 21, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012

Summer of the Gypsy Moths was not what I was expecting from the author of the charming Clementine series. The title and cover implied, at least to me, a similarly innocent type of story but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Two girls who have been abandoned by their mothers are living with "Aunt Louise" as her foster kids, although one of them is actually her great niece. One day Louise unexpectedly dies of what is probably a heart attack, and the girls, reluctant to go back into the foster care system decide to bury the body in the vegetable patch instead of informing the police and spend all summer pretending that louise is upstairs in bed recovering from a broken ankle. They do a good job of taking over her role as caretaker for a group of summer rental cottages with the help of Heloise and her helpful hints and they lie very convincingly to any adults who ask questions. They ultimately decide to tell the truth and everything turns out quite well for all concerned. Except perhaps poor Louise who has been used as garden fertilizer all summer.

I had a hard time getting beyond the premise of the girls burying the body in the back yard. The scenes where the decomposing corpse is described, complete with flies and odors, where the girls liberally spray the corpse with febreeze and go about their usual daily business until they decide to go ahead with their plan to bury the body went a little too far along the path of the macabre for me.
This is another book where it appears that my opinion of it is in the minority but I notice that most reviewers of this book here are adults and I wonder what the kids this book is aimed at think of it. My daughter is almost 10, so firmly in the target audience of 8-12 yr olds and this book was a tough sell for her.

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