Monday, June 28, 2010

Fishing for a Good Book

His grandmother’s summer cottage on a small lake in Michigan. Idyllic. Perfect place to grow up, to bring your kids and grandkids. It’s the 1970's. Kyle is 12 and sees his life stretching ahead of him, this summer and all the summers to come.

KYLE’S ISLAND by Sally Derby, Charlesbridge, 2010

Then Kyle’s grandmother dies, his parents separate, and his mother decides to sell the cottage. Kyle fights his feelings of bitterness and disappointment by trying to figure out how to save the cottage.

Although his older sister and his twin sister, who seems, somehow, different this summer, offer a little help, they aren’t nearly as engaged in the project as Kyle wants or expects them to be. His younger brother Josh would do anything for Kyle, but there are limits to what a 7 year old can do.

Prospective buyers view the cottage, Kyle takes on odd jobs, and as the summer simmers on, Kyle comes to think of himself as more than a big brother, more like a stand-in dad. He teaches Josh how to fish and go camping. Every day, he thinks about the coming end of summer. Will it be his last summer on the lake?

This is a quiet novel but there are readers, boys and girls alike, who enjoy quiet novels. They will relate to Kyle and his concerns and sympathize with his struggles.

Fishing, camping, sibling relationships, and coping with the realization that grown-ups aren’t perfect, offer much to think about in this warm hearted story of a family’s summer vacation.

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