cover image Summer Song CL

Summer Song CL

Susan Rowan Masters. Clarion Books, $14.95 (137pp) ISBN 978-0-395-71127-9

Etta May, a self-proclaimed magnet for disaster, carries more than her share of burdens. Soon after the death of her beloved grandmother, her grandfather Gent grows too weak from emphysema to tend his cherished roses or take care of the run-down trailer where he and Etta May live. When Etta May realizes that Gent's disease is terminal, she resolves to carry out his last wish: to let him die in his own bed. She wages a lonely battle against doctors and, even more painfully, the absentee mother she has hitherto seen ``all of nine times.'' In the tradition of Where the Lilies Bloom and A Day No Pigs Would Die, this story about love and compromise traces the struggles of a determined child taking on adult responsibilities. Scenes depicting the clash of wills among three generations are balanced with portrayals of familial tenderness and compassion. Masters's quick dialogue adds color, while her poignant narrative evokes the frustration, fear and final acceptance experienced in the face of a deep loss. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)