Book Reviews of The Summer Book

The Summer Book
The Summer Book
Author: Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal (Translator)
ISBN-13: 9780954221713
ISBN-10: 0954221710
Publication Date: 5/29/2003
Pages: 172
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Sort of Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Summer Book on + 982 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A very good book about a grandaughter and grandmother together for the summer. Very vivid descriptions of the island.
reviewed The Summer Book on
Helpful Score: 1
An artist and her granddaughter spend a summer together on a tiny island in Finland, adjusting to each other. A life-affirming story for all ages. Written for adults, this is cosidered a classic in Scandinavia.
reviewed The Summer Book on + 164 more book reviews
This is the quietest great book I've ever read.

Every once in a while I read a book that makes me jealous, that makes me wish I could write and do what the book did. Like this one. It's a wisp of a book - brief, with no plot to speak of and only two real characters, no compelling crisis to drive the action, no suspense.

I almost cried when it ended.

It's like a watercolor of only four or five easy strokes, that you can't help but stare at for hours.


So, this girl Sophia and her grandmother, and by the way, her dad is there too but in Sophia's world he's just a background force, like the weather, and not a character. This girl Sophia and her grandmother do not do much, but spend lots of time together doing normal things on normal summer days that happen in no particular order, and I don't even think all the same year.

And it's just wonderful.

If you've ever read the Moomintroll books, this book has the same breezy disarming sense of humor.

I bet Tove Jansson could have written this review in 12 words, and it would have been better.
reviewed The Summer Book on + 706 more book reviews
Book Description
In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer--its sunlight and storms--into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia's grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. "On an island," thinks the grandmother, "everything is complete." In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.

My Review
I loved reading about Sophie and her grandmother as they spend the summer on an island in the Gulf of Finland. Sophie's mom has just died and her grandmother is helping her to cope with her mother's death. Little do they know that this will be their last summer together as Sophie's grandmother will die at the end of this summer. This book is a touching account of their friendship and I highly recommend it.