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The Summer of the Swans
The Summer of the Swans
Author: Betsy Byars
Sara is having a terrible summer. The swans on the lake look so beautiful and calm. Why can't Sara be like them? But nothing is going right. Sara argues with her bossy aunt and her sister Wanda. Her little brother Charlie is no fun, either. But when Charlie gets lost one night, Sara searches harder than anyone. Along the way, she learns more abo...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780736228084
ISBN-10: 073622808X
Publication Date: 1970
Pages: 154
Rating:
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1

2 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Hampton-Brown
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 0
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Summer of the Swans on
Helpful Score: 3
ISBN 0140314202 - Put Betsy Byars and the Newbery Award on the cover of a book and you've already reeled me in - so to be disappointed is a bigger letdown than you'd think! Not a bad book, just not a great book.

Sara is the middle child, between mute Charlie and pretty Wanda. Their parents, one dead and one very absent, have tasked Aunt Willie with the care of the children and all seems fairly standard - a little bickering, a "you can't tell me what to do" argument, etc - until the day Sara takes Charlie to see the swans. Charlie finds the swans fascinating and soothing and doesn't want to leave, so when he looks out his window that night and sees something white moving, he is sure they have come to find him. Leaving the house in the darkness, Charlie becomes lost and Sara discovers things about herself, her brother and others in the hours after he is discovered missing.

For the first time, I find Byars' character's speech a bit off for their age. Sara's use of the word "bloomers" and the sentence "I just acted too hastily." don't seem to fit a girl in her early teens in the 1970s, although the reference to TV game shows of the time was amusing. Sara may be just "coming of age" but she ends up seeming, at times, like a much older adult - and not in the "mature for her age" sense. If you're looking to read all the Newbery winners, then you'll want to read this one. For a really good book, or even for the best Byars offers, this isn't it.

- AnnaLovesBooks
reviewed The Summer of the Swans on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A remarkable Newberry award book written for young teens, but also a story that sticks in the mind of adults. I would recommend this book to anyone who screens books before giving them to young people.
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