Monday, March 1, 2010

Freshly-Brewed Monday Book Recommendation #8!- The Year The Swallows Came Early

The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Eleven-year old Groovy Robinson is one of the most adorable and compelling voices I've met this year.

Right from the get-go we learn "We lived in a perfect stucco house, just off the sparkly Pacific, with a lime tree in the backyard and pink and yellow roses gone wild around a picket fence. But that wasn't enough to keep my daddy from going to jail that year I turned eleven. I told my best friend, Frankie, that is was hard to tell what something was like on the inside just by looking at the outside. And that our house was like one of those See's candies with beautiful swirled chocolate on the outside, but sometimes hiding coconut flakes on the inside, all gritty and hard, like undercooked white rice." 

Groovy loves to cook, in fact going to professional chef school is definitely in the plans. But when her Dad gets arrested, right there in front of the Swallows Shop and Ferry, things get complicated. Groovy doesn't know why he's arrested, though she does know "Daddy seemed to get the kind of bosses who ended up firing him." Groovy's endearing relationships with her Mom (who owns one-quarter of the small town beauty shop), her Dad, and her friends Marisol and Frankie are heart-warming and real. Groovy encounters surprise after surprise as no one and no situation is exactly as Groovy has believed them to be. This book will please and delight its target audience - 8-12 year olds- as well as their parents!

The sunny seaside setting of San Juan Capistrano and the swallows returning home theme add a beautiful layer of place to this special book.


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