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Garmann's Summer Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 42 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802853390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853394
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–4—Mixed-media collage illustrations, prominently featuring oversize, digitally altered photographs of human heads, reflect Garmann's anxious thoughts in his last summer before he begins school. Signs of autumn abound in nature and in his elderly aunts' annual visit. The six-year-old side of Garmann thinks his aunts are shrinking and soon may not be able to see over the grass, naively offers one aunt his skateboard when she says that soon she will need a walker, and worries because he has not lost his first tooth. The tooth seems more urgent as he compares himself to the twins next door and notices his aunts' dentures, also shown as part of the photo collages in which size, proportion, and color draw the eye into the youngster's imagination. The introspective boy wonders about life's transitions and asks the aunts about aging and their possible fears of dying. He also asks his violinist father and his serene-looking mother, "What are you scared of?" In the end, Garmann sees that everyone feels fear and yet goes on living. He says good-bye to the aunts, organizes his school bag one last time, checks his teeth, counts the hours until school—and accepts his anxious feelings. With its literary tone and distinctive illustrative style, this unusual picture book is for larger collections.—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Garmann’s summer is ending, marked by seasonal changes to the natural world, and by the similarly dependable visit from his three elderly aunts. As he readies for first grade, he interviews the members of his extended family about their own journeys and apprehensions. In their responses, he glimpses the immutable nature of the passage of time and the simple glory to be had along the way. As Michael Rosen’s Sad Book did with grief, this poignant picture book, originally published in Norway, looks at uncertainty from the inside out, not as the by-product of the first day of school but as an organic thread in the fabric of life. Rather than simply tackling the worries that come with change, this rare book plumbs the underneath, capturing the abstract feelings that reside in a child’s heart and reflecting them back. The arc of the story is totally original, with elements unfurled in an authentically childlike arrangement of skips and imaginings, ending at the beginning. And the illustrations, spacious, quirky mosaic collages comprising photos, old-fashioned etchings, and wallpaper samples are utterly compelling as they depict the whole of life’s array without a trace of sentimentality. In a feat of deceptive simplicity, Hole has crafted an elegant, fanciful, wholly poetic exploration of the nature of fear and the strength and hope required to conquer it. Grades 1-3. --Thom Barthelmess

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Yet in this book his first day of school will be in the first grade.
E. R. Bird
Garmann's Summer is one of the most honest, subtle, profound, and beautifully dark books I have read in a long time.
Bibliothecaire Extraordinaire
The illustrations are an interesting blend of photographs, collages and paintings.
Z Hayes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the head of even the most open-minded person there are still in-born beliefs of what purpose a picture book really serves. If you sat your average citizen down and played that old word association game, the term "picture book" would inspire thoughts of Seuss or Sendak or Are You My Mother? Large American publishers recognize this and tend to publish homegrown titles that fulfill these whitebread expectations. The few overseas titles they bring in tend to be English or Australian. That leaves picture books from other places like China, Sweden, or Norway to the small publishers. Kane/Miller, Simply Read Books, and Eerdmans Books for Young Readers are some of the ones who are left to take chances on books that simply do not slot neatly into the little pre-ordained picture book categories we have in our heads. So when a book like "Garmann's Summer" plops down on your lap, your initial instinct is to reject it. "It looks weird!" "What's this book about?" "Why's he look like that?" It's a knee-jerk series of reactions. Only when you slow down, read the book fully, and think about it do you realize that maybe there's room in this world for a small unassuming Norwegian tale about a boy's thoughts on death, age, fear, and losing your baby teeth. Children, as odd as it sounds, are not adverse to age-appropriate emotional complexity.

Garmann is six-years-old and soon he'll be attending his first day of school. Not surprisingly, he's a little scared about this. The summer is almost over and once again, as they do every year, three old aunts have come to visit Garmann's family to drink coffee in the garden and admire the season's show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Garmann's Summer" was a book my daughter and I spotted by accident at the library. The unique cover had me intrigued as well as my daughter, and we promptly checked it out. To my surprise and delight, this Norwegian tale of six-year-old Garmann with all of his fears about beginning school in the fall resonated with both me and my little one. The illustrations are an interesting blend of photographs, collages and paintings. Each page is so vibrant and life-like that we found ourselves perusing each page at leisure, absorbed in the pictures as much as the story. Frankly, the story itself appealed more to me than it did my preschooler, though she loved looking at the pictures. This is a story about fears, and of realizing that all of us, young and old alike have our own set of fears - young Garmann worries about beginning school, of not having lost any teeth yet [compared to the twin girls next door], and as he asks his three old aunts who are visiting him for the summer about their fears - he realizes that they too have worries -about aging and its' accompanying frailties, about death staring them in the face, about the 'great beyond' that awaits them in the afterlife, and even Garmann's dad, a violinist has his own fears.

A book like this, with its rather 'heavy' and philosophical content, will appeal to adults and older children, but is also great for having discussions with younger children about their fears. A truly unique book that I intend to purchase for my home library. Highly recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Winner of the 2007 Bologna Ragazzi Award for excellence in international children's book publishing, Garmann's Summer is a children's picturebook about a young boy who is nervous because summer is ending and school is about to start. His old aunts have come to visit; they share and help him to understand that everyone is afraid of something. But sometimes there is wonder hidden beneath the fear, even when dealing with such transcendental mysteries as life and death. Strikingly illustrated with stylized, colorful collages blending photography with artwork, Garmann's Summer is surprisingly philosophical for a children's story and warmly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Garmann's Summer is one of the most honest, subtle, profound, and beautifully dark books I have read in a long time. The artwork is both humorous and morbid at the same time, and the story teaches us that no one is immune to fear, regardless of age. This book prompts the reader to reflect on their own fears and on the meaning of growing up, making transitions through different stages in life, and on dying.

In the event that a parent or teacher reads this book to a child, the adult should be mature and honest enough to confront the themes of death and emotion that underlie the story because kids will surely ask questions. But in this cusp between the end of a long summer vacation and the looming start of a new school year, school children of Garmann's age might enjoy reading this story and realizing that they are not the only ones scared of the first day of school.
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