From School Library Journal
Grade 4–7—Twelve-year-old March Anne expects this summer to be like all others—spending time with her girlfriends, helping on the family's Georgia watermelon farm, and learning from her grandma, who has been raising March Anne and her brother since their mother died nine years ago. But in July, the girl's world is turned upside down when Grenna suffers a heart attack and is bedridden. March Anne valiantly tries to cook the dinners, but her misadventures only serve to highlight the void that her grandmother's absence will leave. Things gradually settle down, and March Anne regales Grenna with stories about school, especially the antics of three previously irritating boys. When Grenna insists that a hummingbird has stayed for the winter, March Anne assumes her grandmother is "wonky," but the creature soon makes itself known, remaining nearby until the February day when Grenna passes on. Afterward, March Anne must come to terms with her grief not only for her grandmother, but also for her mother. Her friends are there to help, and her family draws closer as her father opens up about his repressed heartache over his wife. While the vocabulary is poetic, the Southern idioms and clichés are exaggerated, and March Anne's first-person narration never entirely engages readers. The tone is somewhat saccharine and preachy, and the themes are presented with a heavy hand. An additional novel about friendship and loss.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
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Twelve-year-old March Anne Tanner’s world is full of the rich colors and sweet smells of her family’s Georgia watermelon farm. But her idyllic life is disrupted when Grenna, her grandmother and main caretaker, suffers a debilitating heart attack. In the year that follows, March Anne comes to realize that she will eventually loose Grenna, and she finally faces the hole in her life left by her mother’s death, when March Anne was very young. Angle’s story and prose are clean, lyrical, and so quaint that they sometimes feel incongruous with the contemporary setting. An overly long lead-up to what the titular hummingbird represents may deter readers not immediately taken by the meandering but heartfelt story. Still, those itching for a lushly drawn, gentle coming-of-age tale to wile away summer days will take March Anne and her story to heart. Grades 4-6. --Heather Booth