THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY, by Amy Hest, Candlewick, Aug. 4, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 10-12)
The Summer We Found the Baby, by Amy Hest, explores a WWII summer through the eyes of three engaging children.
On the morning of the dedication of the new children’s library in Belle Beach, Long Island, 11-year-old Julie Sweet and her 6-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, 12-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn’t spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her. Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
There’s more to The Summer We Found the Baby than meets the eye. What seems so simple to the children is much more complicated in real life.
Julie, Martha and Bruno tell this story in alternating chapters, creating a layered and varied text that wavers between stream of consciousness (Martha) and introspection (Bruno).
While The Summer We Found the Baby takes place over the course of one day, there are flashbacks throughout that help readers puzzle together the specific events. This could be confusing for less mature readers, but those in the intended audience (ages 10-12) should have no trouble connecting the dots.
The Summer We found the Baby is a heartwarming story that is compelling and quick moving. While it may be the mystery readers come for, it’s the characters that will carry them forward. It’s a fresh take on WWII that finds joy in both the big and little things.
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