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Three Bird Summer Hardcover – May 13, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Adam has spent every summer in northern Minnesota at his grandmother's cabin on Three Bird Lake. This summer promises to be very different as it is the first visit since his parents' divorce. His dad, uncle, and cousins won't be joining them this year and Adam will spend the entire time with his mother and grandmother. Adam is actually looking forward to being the only kid and is a little put out to learn there is a new neighbor his age, a girl named Alice. Certain she will be just like the popular girls at his school who confuse and intimidate him, Adam is more surprised than anyone by the friendship they quickly form. When his grandmother begins to act strange, forget things, and leave mysterious notes in his room, Alice is the only person Adam can talk to about it. Together, they set out to discover the treasure alluded to in the notes. Adam is a fully developed character many readers will relate to as he works through his changing relationship with his grandmother and his friendship with Alice. The leisurely pace matches the setting of long days spent dock-sitting or canoeing, and nature is never far from Adam's mind as he watches loons, beavers, and even a pair of mink in their natural habitats. Rich in descriptive detail, readers will be able to fully visualize the characters and the lush setting of this well-written novel.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL

From Booklist

It’s a different summer for Adam at Grandma’s lakeside cabin in Minnesota. With his parents divorced, he’s there with just his mother and grandmother. Quite happy sitting on the dock alone, he initially resists meeting the new girl next door, but Alice and her family become unexpected allies. With his grandmother’s memory problems worsening, he and Alice bond as they try to help her by solving questions about the distant past. Meanwhile, Adam’s mother struggles with difficult choices about Grandma’s future. This quiet story has plenty to offer, beginning with the vivid depiction of an independent, self-aware 12-year-old boy who is baffled (though occasionally intrigued) by girls. His friendship with Alice develops naturally, with the encouraging but unpressured possibility of more than friendship to come. St. Antoine depicts complex intergenerational relationships with balance and sensitivity, and the novel includes one of the more unusual treasure hunts in children’s books. Readers drawn to the understated jacket art will find plenty to enjoy here. Grades 5-7. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763665649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763665647
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had to step away from this book for a couple of days just because I felt like something terribly distressing was forthcoming, and I didn’t think I would be ready for it.

I related heavily to this book. Who would’ve thought that a middle grade book about a 12 year old boy would give this 22 year old girl the feels? I certainly wasn’t prepared for the story I got.

We’re going through a similar situation in my family that Adam, his mother, and his grandmother are going through in Three Bird Summer.

My granny used to be this strong, happy person. Then about three years ago, my grandpa passed and it has been downhill from there. She is losing her memory. She is fragile and depressed. She doesn’t leave the house. But every once in a while, when all the grandkids go visit, I catch a glimpse of the woman that I knew when I was a child. The lady who would wake up at the crack of dawn and put on a pot of coffee. She’d sit on the swing outside and push herself with a slippered foot, while telling me stories of her childhood. She had a smile on her face all day long. When I think of summer, I think of going to my grandparent’s house in the woods.

So yea, I understand this. I’ve had the same conversations with my mother about my grandmothers “slipping”. We’ve given the side eye to each other when she repeats questions or forgets what she was doing. It is the second saddest thing I’ve had to deal with. To watch someone you love slowly lose their reality.

“She wrapped her knobby fingers around her mug and sipped her coffee slowly, like medicine…She wore silver glasses-always the same shape and style. They were dull now, but her eyes glinted behind them when she was in the right mood.” YA'LL. This is so my grandmother!!
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Format: Hardcover
Sara St Antoine takes us on a lovely quiet journey to a cabin by a lake in Northern Minnesota where the natural world is described so vividly and with such loving attention that it becomes another character in the story. At first it appears that this world of long days, tall pines, and an ever-changing lake that is home to loons, beaver, and mink will be Adam, the 12 year old protagonist's, primary company--and he likes it that way. Separated from the usual gang of cousins and uncles who have shared his summers at the lake in the past by his parents' divorce, Adam anticipates a long summer on his own with deep enthusiasm. One senses that he needs a break from the bewildering social challenges of near adolescence and a balm from the wounds of his parents' divorce. He receives the news that a girl his age, Alice, will be staying in a neighboring cabin for the summer with dread.

And then, despite Adam's best efforts at isolation, he finds himself building a friendship with Alice. The friendship, really, is the story, and it is developed by St. Antoine, with warmth, humor, and never an off-chord emotionally. Adam emerges from his emotional retreat with Alice who teases him at just right the times, listens to him with the total focus he has clearly been missing, and adventures with him as a co-conspirator.

The book is written for middle school children, but there is a sweetness and truth to both the portrayal of Nature and to the exploration of aging, parental relationships, and a totally compelling friendship that left me excited to return to it each evening for a week until I had finished it. The next day, I offered it to my 9 year old daughter who spent a day and a half sleeping, eating and reading Three Bird Summer.
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Format: Hardcover
Three Bird Summer is a sweet, slow story based on summer memories on a lake. Adam and Alice, both alone for the summer with their respective parents, live in nearby summer cabins on Three Bird Lake. They have some adventures digging up Adam's grandmother's romantic history, possibly launching some future romantic history of their own. Touching lightly on divorce and the conundrum of aging parents, this book is realistic fiction for 4th - 6th graders.
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Format: Hardcover
Summers are magical. That’s how I’ve felt about the summertime ever since I was a little girl! Even though the cold has its merits, there’s nothing quite like the warm weather, long days, and chill vibe of summer.

Three Bird Summer is about a boy named Adam, who is spending his summer with his mother and grandmother in their family’s summer home – a beautiful lakeside property. It’s set to be just like any other summer for Adam, except for one thing: they have new neighbors, who happen to have a daughter his age named Alice.

Isn’t it interesting how the smallest things can change the course of an entire life? Alice is an unexpected (and initially not very welcome) development in Adam’s summer. Both, however, were easy for me to relate to for different reasons. Adam was a loner, preferring his own company over others (or occasionally the company of books). Alice was adventurous and curious, determined to do things. One thing they share in common? A love for their families.

Their friendship blossoms tentatively, finding footholds in their enjoyment of the outdoors and a vulnerability and loneliness they can relate to in each other. It wasn’t a perfect summer; it was a summer of adventure, which I think is even better. Adam grows up, family issues are unraveled and an actual adventure in the form of hunting for “treasure” takes place too.

Apart from the friendship, family also plays a big role in this novel. Adam’s parents are separated, with his dad mostly checking in on the phone and his mother working hard to make ends meet. His grandmother, though a wonderful lady, is stubborn and refuses to admit that she’s starting to suffer from some of the things that come with old age. The dynamics between the family members were done very well by St.
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