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The Summer of the Swans : Puffin Books - Betsy Byars

The Summer of the Swans

Puffin Books

By: Betsy Byars, Ted CoConis (Illustrator)

Paperback Published: 1st June 1996
ISBN: 9780140314205
Number Of Pages: 144
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old

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A Newbery Medal Winner

All summer Sara Godfrey has fretted over herself, her impossible body, her terrible new haircut. One moment she's elated, the next, she's in tears. And she can't figure out why. Maybe her wildly changing moods are tied to the sudden and unaccountable appearance of the swans, which hold the rapt attention of Charlie, Sara's mentally handicapped brother, who she loves far more than herself these days. In fact, it will be the sudden disappearance of Charlie that will compel Sara to abandon her own small, annoying miseries, and lose herself in searching for him. In her anguish, Sara turns to Joe Melby, whom she has long despised, and together they search through the dense woods and rough fields to find him. Sara knows that she will never be the same again.


"A compelling story."—Publishers Weekly

With increasing frequency juvenile fiction is contracting to the dimensions of a short story and the endoskeleton (dialogue, stage directions, asides to the audience) of drama - of which the climax to Sara's season of discontent is a good example. For fourteen years she had "loved her sister without envy, her aunt without finding her coarse, her brother without pity." Now that "I'm not anything" (pretty or smart or athletic), ten-year-old Charlie is "retarded" and everyone else is contemptible - especially classmate Joe Melby, suspected of having taken Charlie's prized wristwatch. Then Charlie gets lost and Joe, a gentle knight plus something of a saint, insists on helping Sara find him. Dismayed because she's learned he was innocent, she hesitates over the words to say so, whereupon Joe tells her a story - of a guru who for twenty-eight years has been searching for "some great wise word" - and she gets the point and, smiling, says she's sorry. It's a sublime moment that even finding the terrified Charlie doesn't surpass, nor Joe's invitation to a dance. The book is a succession of clicks that connect, a sparse but acute self-possessing. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780140314205
ISBN-10: 0140314202
Series: Puffin Books
Audience: Children
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 144
Published: 1st June 1996
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.68 x 12.7  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.12
Edition Type: New edition