“Summerhouse Time,” by Eileen Spinelli

“Summerhouse Time,” by Eileen Spinelli is a book about a young girl named Sophie and her family’s yearly beachside vacation.
Book Cover Art for Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli
Each summer Sophie and her family go to the summerhouse. There they have a family reunion and spend the summer telling stories, riding the waves, and dancing on the beach. Sophie always looks forward to summerhouse time, because every summer she gets to share a room with her favorite cousin Colleen. They giggle and tell secrets all summer long.

This year, though, Sophie is eleven and many things are changing. First of all, there is a new boy in her neighborhood, and Sophie feels that she is “sort of in love” with him. Sophie finally gets to meet him and learns that he is Italian. Summerhouse time will put a break in her romance, but Sophie is determined to be able to speak Italian when she comes back from vacation.

Another thing that has changed is Sophie’s cousin Colleen. When Sophie asks Colleen over the phone if she is getting excited about summerhouse time, Colleen says, “I guess so.” Colleen’s interests have changed, and Sophie finds that her relationship with Colleen has also changed. Colleen doesn’t want to be close to Sophie like she did in past summers, and Sophie is left wondering why.

When summerhouse time finally arrives, Sophie is afraid that this year her summer vacation won’t be nearly as happy as it was in the past. But can Sophie do something to change that?

“Summerhouse Time” is written in a freeform poetry style that emphasizes Sophie’s feelings and thoughts. The dialog is very simple, and yet admirably powerful in its depth and meaning. The entire plot is very openhearted and I enjoyed its tone throughout the story.

Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s drawings add extra charm and appeal to this sunny, warmhearted book. The clean, simple lines of the illustrated characters capture the same tremendous depth of expression, that the poetry passages impart to readers.

All considered I think that Eillen Spinelli has done a great job in writing “Summerhouse Time,” and I would definitely recommend it to young readers.

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Inkweaver Review 2009-07-05T08:22:00-05:00

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