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Summer of the Gypsy Moths Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“Beautifully evoked, the novel’s Cape Cod setting plays a focal role in this richly layered tale of loss, resiliency, and belonging.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Pennypacker is a Beverly Cleary-caliber girl-whisperer; she can weave a yarn both funny and touching, with all the beloved, timeworn themes at the ready: friendship, family, loyalty, loss and independence.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Pennypacker’s marvelously tactile writing animates Stella’s narration and brings both engaging, resilient, and resourceful characters to life.” (School Library Journal)
Top Customer Reviews
There's a real strain of darkness running through SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS. Some of the darkness is blatant, but some implications will be glossed over by less mature readers. Stella and Angel have not had easy lives. While neither girl was physically or sexually abused, there are still reasons they would choose not to go to foster care. Stella was neglected by her mother and at eleven is very experienced at fending for herself. And as Stella notes in the text, the two girls get rather dirty and starved as the weeks go by and none of the adults notice.
In my opinion, the darkness works. SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS reminds me of some of my favorite books as a child, including The Pinballs (Apple Paperbacks) and The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries). (And by THE BOXCAR CHILDREN I mean the first book, not the series of mysteries that follows. I like the mysteries, but they have little to nothing in common with SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS.)
Stella and Angel bond as their deception deepens and they do Louise's work as the manager of Linger Longer, a set of four vacation homes. Stella is obsessed with Hints from Heloise, which is both sad and funny in turns.Read more ›
As a librarian I'm always on the lookout for good middle grade books I can booktalk to kids. Often you don't need an exciting cover or title to sell a book to kids. Heck, sometimes you don't even need to show the book at all. Yet in the case of Sara Pennypacker's debut middle grade novel "Summer of the Gypsy Moths" I fully intend to show the cover off. There you see two happy girls on a seashore on a beautiful summer's day. What could be more idyllic? I'll show the kids the cover then start right off with, "Doesn't it look sweet? Yeah. So this is a book about two girls who bury a corpse in their backyard by themselves and don't tell anyone about it." BLAMMO! Instant interest. Never mind that the book really is a heartfelt and meaningful story or that the writing is some of the finest you will encounter this year. Dead bodies = interested readers, and if I have to sell it with a tawdry pitch then I am bloody selling it with a tawdry pitch and the devil take the details. Shh! Don't tell them it's of outstanding literary quality as well!
Convinced that her free floating mother will return to her someday soon, Stella lives with her Great-aunt Louise and Louise's foster kid Angel. The situation is tenable if not entirely comfortable. If Stella is neat to the point of fault then Angel's her 180-degree opposite. They're like oil and water, those two. That's why when Louise ups and dies on the girls they're surprised to find themselves reluctant allies in a kind of crazy scheme. Neither one of them wants to get caught up in the foster care system so maybe that's why they end up burying Louise in the backyard, running her summer cottages like nothing's wrong.Read more ›
Then all of a sudden, Louise dies. Stella and Angel are so afraid of what might happen to them that they hide the fact, secretly burying the body in the backyard, telling George along with the renters of the cottages and everyone else that Louise has broken her foot, and then creating an imaginary boyfriend with whom Louise is supposedly gone all the time. At first, Angel threatens to run away and find her aunt who has come from Portugal to the United States but then decides to stay. They start to work together to take care of the cottages, and Stella learns how to tend Louise's prize blueberry bushes which have been attacked by gypsy moths. But how long will they be able to carry on with this act? And what will the results be when people finally do find out about Louise?
Interestingly enough, author Sara Pennypacker, whose "Clementine" chapter books are best sellers, takes this rather bizarre, even macabre, scenario and fashions an "all's-well-that-end's-well" type of conclusion. However, some parents may wonder if they really want their middle-school age daughters reading a story about hiding and burying a dead body.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We listened to this audio book from the library. I'm a homeschooling mom of 4 so we listen to/read LOTS of books. We all LOVED this book!! Read morePublished 23 days ago by FL Mom of 4
I enjoyed Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker because it was very
surprising and still touched my heart at other points. Read more
I loved this book. There were parts that made me me cry. This is a must read for kids in grades 4 and up!Published 17 months ago by belinda cundiff
Love it it is the best it has love and lies and is very good telling a story about trustPublished 21 months ago by kerri michels
Hints for Heloise meets Weekend at Bernie's. Pure brilliance. Strong female characters use ingenuity and grit to make the most of an impossible situation.Published 21 months ago by 347_mrd
Starts off pretty controversial and systematically reveals great characters. Situations are resolved with the promise that these characters you have come to know will find what... Read morePublished on August 2, 2014 by bookmarm
This book was sooooooooooooooooooo good. I thought that it was a little sad shin the ant dies. Other than that I loved this book and I can't ways to read the 2 book if that make... Read morePublished on May 1, 2014 by Unknown