Monday, July 6, 2020

The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest

I love reading books seasonally and this one is a great summer read for elementary children. Older reluctant readers will enjoy some historical details about WWII and a cameo by a First Lady.  And younger readers will appreciate the very short chapters. This would be a perfect book to transition into reading to oneself. Although it could still be a wonderful read aloud for the family.

There is a bit of mystery involved; the main element of which is introduced in the first chapter and not fully explained until the end. The book offers a unique 3-person perspective to the story: Bruno, Julie, and Martha (the latter two sisters) take turns offering their thoughts and some of the dialogue they have with one another or family members. Dialogue is written in caps (instead of traditional use of quotation marks). 

The whole thing reads as though you were observing three chatty children on a summer day. The mystery that opens the book as well as their relationship to one another reveals itself in slow layers. It is interesting to see how each child reacts to the mystery.  Adults are sort of in the background, their presence only filtered through the children's minds.

I'm hopeful that the final edition will have illustrations included.  Given the reading level and brevity of chapters, the target reader would still expect (and delight in having) illustrations. The book touches on war in a very child-like way and could provide a spring board for some history discussions between parent and child. This would make a great companion read for a day trip in the car or an afternoon at the beach.

I received a free digital copy of The Summer We Found the Baby from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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