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Summer and Bird [Kindle Edition]

Katherine Catmull
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $7.69
You Save: $1.30 (14%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Hardcover $16.99  
Paperback $8.89  
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Book Description

An enchanting--and twisted--tale of two sisters' quest to find their parents

When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely--Down--one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.

With breathtaking language and deliciously inventive details, Katherine Catmull has created a world unlike any other, skillfully blurring the lines between magic and reality and bringing to life a completely authentic cast of characters and creatures.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Two sisters awaken in a forest cottage to find their parents gone, the secret inside their closet breached, and nothing but a mysterious pictograph to point them forward. Summer and Bird set out into the woods to reunite their family but soon become separated. Alone, each must brave the forest’s hard beauty, exploring its mysterious corners to search for each other, and for themselves. Catmull’s stunning debut unleashes a fierce imagination to build a wholly original world, rich with the familiar shimmer of folklore and drawn with the elegance of a Russian ballet. There are rhymes and bird songs; ravens and snakes; a spirit guide with a vexing smile, born of a burning tree; and an evil, bird-eating puppeteer. And what of the avian-selkie Swan Queen, with her stolen cloak of feathers and feet of clay? As a piece of fantasy, this atmospheric adventure thrills with complex storytelling, carefully threaded with bits of foreshadowing and overflowing with poignant imagery. But lurking beneath the girls’ parallel journeys and heartbreaking reconciliation is an allegorical exploration of family, where the obscure difficulties and rewards of sibling loyalty and parental devotion become painfully, startlingly clear. Grades 5-8. --Thom Barthelmess


BOOKLIST (starred review): "Catmull's stunning debut unleashes a fierce imagination to build a wholly original world, rich with the familiar shimmer of folklore . . .  This atmospheric adventure thrills with complex storytelling, carefully threaded with bits of foreshadowing and overflowing with poignant imagery."

KIRKUS (starred review): "A haunting fable inflected with mythological and fairy-tale motifs  . . . meticulous, symbol-rich narrative with a light, storyteller's voice . . languorously beautiful."

INDIEBOUND Fall 2012 New Voices Pick: "Lyric in its language and layered in its complexity, this is a book like no other.  . . . as much about the complexities of family relationships as it is about quests, magic, growing up, and the worlds that exist just beyond our own."

Amazon Editors' Picks in Fall 2012 Reading for Kids & Teens

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids & Teens: October 2012

Product Details

  • File Size: 620 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sisters, Mothers, and Magic October 8, 2012
I read this book as an adult, but I wish it had come out when I was eleven or twelve. This is the kind of book that would have helped to shape the person I became.

It deals with issues like sisterhood (which seems simple, but ask any pair of sisters just how complicated their relationship can be), the pure but hardly selfless love of children for their mother, the selfless but sometimes conflicted love of a mother for her children, and a strained relationship between parents, and how it affects their children. All of these difficult topics are approached head-on, and unflinchingly, but with a strange and alien filter of magic and folklore that makes the book more accessible to a young and imaginative audience. It is a story about heroism, about love in all forms, and about the magic in the world that is always there. I loved it, and would read it again and again, and I'm saving it to read aloud to my daughter.

"We lose our mothers and look for them everywhere."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all readers from 'tweeners on up October 16, 2012
Finished Summer and Bird last night - great family story with a good arc, a touch of mystery with fine foreshadowing, nearly always elegant and precise prose often bordering on poesy, and highly recommended as one of the best fantasy novels I've read (and I've read many hundreds of them). Far beyond any usual expectations, not just those for a first effort. Can't wait for her next novel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer and Bird November 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just emailed my DIL to order three copies of SUMMER AND BIRD for my pre-teen granddaughters and send the bill to me. This is a very good book - thoughtful and serious, yet fanciful enough to appeal to young readers. On the outside, it's a lyrical story of two sisters, Summer and Bird, who set out to find their parents after they mysteriously disappeared from their home in the dead of night. On the inside, it's the story of a family's disintegration, but with a sweet, not a bitter or sad ending. That ending is foreshadowed by an early reference to a verse in the King James version of Genesis: "I will not let thee go except thou bless me."

I believe Katherine Catmull's rich and fluid prose will appeal to a broader audience than was originally intended. Parents will appreciate her familiarity with Kafka, Keats and Blake, as well as the challenging vocabulary she sets before their children - words like "cerulean," "nexus," "hieroglyphic," and "balustrade." And who cannot appreciate a well-turned phrase - "a rushing sound beneath the quiet," "a white wing edged with rippling sable," or "an appetite opened wide as a hatchling's beak."

As an aside, when I first glimpsed the title I read it to be "Summer Bird," and I half expected a story about the famous racehorse of that same name, winner of the 2009 Belmont Stakes, and now retired to stud at Winstar Farm in Kentucky. But alas, the story of that famous racehorse family - Storm Bird, Dear Birdie, Birdstone, and Mine That Bird - will have to wait. Who to better write it than Katherine Catmull?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Young Adult fantasy but so much more October 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This (breathtaking accomplished) first novel sometimes reminds me of Tolkien or Lewis with its heightened language and imaginative creations. And of course it's aimed at Young Adults, and what matters for them most, even more than the sense of wonder, is that the young characters and their language feel emotionally true (that truth is large part of the power of Rowling and Pratchett). Catmull gives us all this in SUMMER AND BIRD, and that is why, I think, adults as well as well as younger readers will like it. SUMMER AND BIRD reminds me a great deal of the enjoyment with which I first read Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME. I reread the L'Engle book again and again as a kid, and (much later) with great enjoyment as an adult, and I expect to come back to SUMMER AND BIRD the same way. This is a lovely book for adults and children to share. It's also an excellent exemplar of the kind of book Tolkien describes in his essay "On Fairy Stories" -- books set in a Secondary (imagined) World that confront readers with darkness but also with joy. 'It is the mark of a good fairy-story," Tolkien writes, "of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the "turn" comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.' SUMMER AND BIRD has that same "peculiar" (and lifting-of-the-heart) quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read December 25, 2012
Summer and Bird was a bit hard for me to get into right away, but it was well worth the difficult start. I feel like I gained something from reading the story and learned about myself too. (Always the sign of a great book). I have a feeling this book will become quite popular shortly...

Summer is a practical and loving young girl, older sister to Bird, a wild and free-spirited, sometimes irrational little girl. Summer and Bird. This is a lovely story completely out of the ordinary. After waking up to find their parents, and cat Sarah, missing one morning, Summer and Bird embark on a magical adventure which will change their lives forever. A beautiful swan queen, an evil puppeteer, a mysterious old man, and all kinds of birds flock this book and mix with the two girls, for better or worse, throughout the story. Summer and Bird is filled with many thought provoking issues and beautiful imagery, making it not just a young adult story, but a gret read for adults too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave me the Shivers
I am interested in Jungian analysis, in birds, and in folklore. This book has an aura of mystery and importance to it that I found mesmerizing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Julia Mira
5.0 out of 5 stars This is absolutely the most beautiful and enchanting book I have ever...
This is absolutely the most beautiful and enchanting book I have ever read. My 5th grader found it at the library and told me I had to read it right away, she said she had never... Read more
Published 8 months ago by MountainGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is An Amazing Book
This book changed my life. I got this book out of the library, because it looked interesting. Let me tell you: It is much more. It is a tale of two sisters. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stellar
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular!
The book features important values and issues that people commonly face, such as familial issues, but presents them in a way that would draw in any reader with a whimsical heart. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Brittani Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever!!!!!!!!
I loved this book. It is a great book for young readers. It is about two girls waking up and finding their parents and cat missing. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Chairman Jobs "Steve"
4.0 out of 5 stars what a journey
I enjoyed several passages. I wanted to reread and commit to memory. The style of writing and philosophies presented made me think.
Published 20 months ago by Poker Queen
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely fairy tale
Most of my reading consists of contemporary young adult fiction, but every so often I branch outside that and read something a little different. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Khy
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it
This book was written in a different style than I usually read, but it was a nice change. The language was mesmerizing and there were so many lovely vivid images that I was really... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Elle
2.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood Fairy Tale
I could not figure out where this story was going. Misunderstood if it was supposed to be real or some sort of fairy tale! Read more
Published on May 13, 2013 by Kate
3.0 out of 5 stars Folklore and Family
When Summer and Bird wake up to find their parents and cat missing they go off to find them in the world of Down. Read more
Published on April 13, 2013 by Rebecca
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