Seriously. It seems pathetic to me that I’d read multiple books by Eileen Spinelli, thinking hey! another Spinelli writer!, before realizing that she’s actually married to Jerry Spinelli. Well, then. Interestingly enough, I think I’ve now read more books by her, although he’s the more famous one (Maniac Magee and Wringer are both Newberys); I reviewed Another Day as Emily not that long ago, but my first exposure to her was The Dancing Pancake, which was delightful. She has a tendency of dealing with serious topics with enough depth to matter, but giving them positive outcomes in a way that’s comforting to her target audience. It’s true that not every situation turns out all right; it’s also true that in general, kids in today’s world know that a little too well. I’m okay, then, with books that are reassuringly warm and cozy. We need stories of all kinds in this world.
Summerhouse Time is about a girl whose extended family rents a beach house together every August; Sophie loves everything about it, and is eagerly counting down the days until it’s time to leave. Not surprisingly, however, she finds that not everything is as perfect as she assumes it will be. The reasons why are more creative than I expected, but everything does wrap up rather neatly. During the wrapping process, however, Sophie realizes that perhaps even the past is not as perfect as we may remember it.
Spinelli’s blank verse is not as lyrical as, say, Karen Hesse’s, but the medium works well for her in a different way; I enjoyed this one. If you’re your looking for a read that is short and sweet without being saccharine, Summerhouse Time is well worth your time.