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Bird Lake Moon Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 22, 2008

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Mitch Sinclair, 12, is at Bird Moon Lake because his parents are divorcing. But there are tense moments with his grandparents, so Mitch fantasizes about moving into the empty house next door. Then Spencer Stone and his family, who own the cottage, arrive. Spencer and younger sister love the lake, but it’s also the place where their barely remembered brother, Matty, drowned at age four. Told in overlapping chapters, the story is spare. Mitch tricks Spencer into thinking Matty is haunting them; then he does something worse. After the boys become friends, the truth becomes both barrier and bridge. As in his Newbery Honor Book Olive’s Ocean (2003), every word counts, moving the story forward moment by moment. Yet the writing is as evocative as it is precise: fireflies are “pinpricks of topaz.” Emotions are just as carefully carved, turning characterization into portraiture; the children stand out in relief, against the deceptive tranquility of the lake. Some children may find the story too quiet or the ending too abrupt. But Henkes knows children and their secrets, and readers will lean close to hear the whispers. Grades 5-7. --Ilene Cooper

About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author of Junonia, Sun & Spoon, Bird Lake Moon, and the Newbery Honor Books The Year of Billy Miller and Olive's Ocean. He also writes and illustrates picture books, and among his many titles are the national bestsellers Little White Rabbit, My Garden, Old Bear, A Good Day, and Kitten's First Full Moon, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Mr. Henkes is also the creator of a series of books starring mouse characters, including the Penny books for beginning readers, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Owen, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor.

Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award 2010-2011
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061470767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061470769
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels--one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jordan K. Henrichs on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My knowledge of Kevin Henkes, the author, never extended outside of his picture books (and what picture books they are!). I thoroughly enjoyed his fun titles like Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Chrysanthemum and for the longest time, I thought this was all there was to Kevin Henkes. I hate to admit it, but it wasn't until recently that I realized his novel Olive's Ocean was a Newbery Honor Book. I didn't even know he wrote novels (he's written 8)! So when I saw that the Wisconsin native's latest novel, Bird Lake Moon, was being generously reviewed as everything from a ghost story, to an edge-of-your-seat page turner, to a suspenseful summer adventure yarn, I couldn't get my hands on a copy fast enough.

The last thing Mitch Sinclair wanted to do this summer was stay with his grandparents at Bird Lake. If Mitch had it his way, his parents would NOT be getting a divorce and his family of three would be working out their problems together at home in Madison. Spencer Stone wanted nothing more than to come to his family's cabin on Bird Lake, but ever since his 4 year old brother drowned in the lake years ago, the getaway has lost its appeal. This summer however, Spencer is getting his wish as his family looks to return to Bird Lake and put their past behind them.

I should tell you up front, I have A LOT to say about this book and that this review will be very long. If you'd rather discover some of the plot particulars on your own, you might not want to read on. Some people would maybe think I give away too many SPOILERS. But if you too, are wanting to read this book, and are expecting some of the very same things I expected (a ghost story, a mystery, adventure), please read on, because you'll find that nothing I discuss is truly worthy of a SPOILER WARNING.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. White on September 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This piece of Contemporary Realistic Fiction contains several deep themes including death, the development of moral character, sibling relationships, and friendship. The story would be a classic person vs. self conflict, but also contains a bit of person vs. society because of Mitch's current family situation.

I could relate to Mitch's inner struggles as he attempted to right his own wrongs to save his friendship. I think everyone has experienced the remorse that follows bad choices and the inner tug-of-war that follows. We've all asked ourselves, "How do I make this right?" I also thought the contrast between the two families' dynamics was intensely interesting and thought provoking. The differences in the personalities of the two main characters could often be traced back to their prior family experiences.

This book would be perfect for literature circles in the classroom. Small groups of students would benefit from discussing Mitch's struggle to develop moral character and the implications of his impulsive decision making. In addition, I woud keep this book handy for students encountering divorce and encourage them to think about how Mitch grows and develops through his family's changes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James A. Nichols VINE VOICE on May 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a great story about two boys who come together one summer at the lake. Both are dealing with tragedies that have occured in their lives. Spencer is trying to figure out about the death of his brother that occured when he was little and why noone talks about it. Mitch is dealing with the recent seperation of his parents. A great look at how they handle the situations and how they spend time together. Would highly recmmend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Mitch Sinclair just found out that his father has left him and his mother for another woman. Torn apart by the news, he and his mom go up to Bird Lake to stay with his grandparents for a while. Unfortunately, his grandparents seem to feel very uncomfortable with their two houseguests, creating an edgy atmosphere.

To stay out of their way, Mitch spends as much time as he can away from the house, including swimming in the lake and exploring the empty house next door. Desperate for something solid to hold on to, he decides to claim the empty house as his own. He carves his initials into the railing and moves a few belongings under the porch. He begins dreaming that he and his mom might buy it for real and move in together. But then they arrive.

Ten-year-old Spencer Stone has a seven-year-old sister named Lolly who annoys him to no end. They used to have an older brother, Matty, but he drowned when Spencer was two. Spencer doesn't remember him, but he can feel the sadness emanating from his parents, even after all this time. Then one day, his mom and dad announce that they are going for a little vacation, up to the house on Bird Lake, where Matty died. After avoiding the house since the accident, the family is finally going to decide whether to keep it or sell it.

Mitch feels angry toward the Intruders. Another thing that's important is being taken away from him, and he decides to fight. He hatches a scheme to scare the family away with a ghost infestation. But then he has to start dealing with the guilt feelings sweeping over him. Just because his parents are causing him pain, does that give him the right to cause pain to others?

Spencer loves the house on the lake, but he can see how stressed his mom is at being there.
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