cover image Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up

Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. Scholastic/Graphix, $12.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-545-74166-8

In a compassionate story that opens in the summer of 1976, the brother-sister team behind the Babymouse and Squish series introduces 10-year-old Sunny Lewin, who is facing unwanted change on multiple fronts. Sunny’s planned vacation with a best friend has turned into a solo trip to visit her grandfather at a Florida retirement village. With no kids in sight, a squeaky hide-a-bed to sleep on, and a haircut that falls short of the Dorothy Hamill wedge she’d hoped for, Sunny is disappointed at the direction her summer has taken. Through skillfully deployed flashbacks, the Holms reveal that these concerns, while not trivial, mask a larger one—Sunny’s older brother’s increasingly out-of-control use of alcohol and drugs. Colored by Lark Pien in creamy aquas, corals, and yellows, the illustrations shout “Florida coast,” and, along with the short chapters, give the story the feel of a serialized Sunday comic. Sunny’s introduction, via a new friend, to comic-book heroes like Swamp Thing and Batman creates some slightly heavy-handed but effective parallels for Sunny’s conflicted feelings about a family she cares for deeply. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.) [/em]