Reviews for Umbrella Summer


Booklist Reviews 2009 August #1
Nine-year-old Annie knows that bad things can happen even if you're careful. Her older brother Jared died even though he went to the doctor. So now she is extra careful. Annie pores over a medical encyclopedia, wears a helmet in the car, preemptively wraps her ankles for bike rides, and never roller-skates down the hill with one eye closed the way she and Jared loved to do. A fight over the funeral of her best friend's hamster leaves Annie even more alone, but she finds an unlikely friend in the new neighbor, Mrs. Finch, who lends her Charlotte's Web, reveals that she is a recent widow, and helps her learn to "close the umbrella" that she has put up to shield herself since Jared's death. Annie grapples with what to do to mark Jared's approaching birthday, and together with his best friend, Tommy, they find a fitting tribute to joyfully remember Jared. This tender book about love and loss benefits from Annie's quirky personality, which lightens the serious tone. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
After her brother Jared dies from a rare heart condition, Annie copes by reading about illnesses; though prepared, she's not healing. That comes slowly, aided by understanding friends and a close-knit community of complex, concerned (but never cloying) characters. Expect tears, but also expect to cheer for Annie's recovery as she gradually learns to honor Jared's life and care for her own. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #4
With the same deftness she demonstrated in The Thing About Georgie (rev. 3/07), Graff immediately engages the reader with the main character. Here's Annie Richards, about to ride her bike to the local drug store. Elbow pads? Check. Kneepads? Check. Helmet? Check. Ace bandages? Check. She's now ready to take the safe but more time-consuming route on her mission to buy Band-Aids. Why is Annie so fearful? The previous year her older brother, Jared, died unexpectedly from a rare heart condition, and Annie's at a loss as to how to cope. Her mother cleans obsessively, her father hides behind newspapers and magazines, and Annie reads about terrible illnesses and their symptoms. She's not searching for sympathy, and she certainly doesn't want any of those "dead-brother looks," but "there was a lot of...dangerous stuff that most people didn't even think to worry about. You had to watch out for everything." However, while Annie may be prepared, she's not healing. That healing comes slowly, helped along by understanding friends and a close-knit community of complex, concerned (but never cloying) characters. Expect tears, but also expect to cheer for Annie's recovery as she gradually learns to honor Jared's life and care for her own. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #1
Four months ago Annie Richards's 11-year-old brother Jared died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. Since then, she and her parents have been nearly paralyzed with a grief that none of them can acknowledge. Her mother frantically cleans but won't speak of Jared, her father is sweetly distant and ten-year-old Annie tries desperately to protect herself from every conceivable form of disease or accident. The loving adults who surround Annie are aware of her fears but bumble in their attempts to comfort her, until a new neighbor, grieving over her husband's recent death, finds just the right words and caring interventions to ease Annie, and ultimately others around her, into taking down the metaphorical umbrellas they raised to shield themselves from pain. Though at first glance rather long for those new to chapter books, the generous, nicely spaced print makes for a surprisingly fast read. A welcome and sensitive addition to collections dealing with grief, this is also an appealing and moving choice for readers seeking a dose of feel-good reality fiction. (Fiction. 8 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 June

Gr 4-6--After her brother's unexpected death from a rare heart ailment, adventurous Annie Richards changes into an overly cautious child who diligently tries to prevent any illness or accident happening to her. Each cut or bump is bandaged. Instead of racing her friend Rachel on her bike, the 10-year-old invents turtle racing to see who can ride the slowest. Games she deems too dangerous are avoided. Annie's neighborhood is filled with friends and neighbors who care, but too often she sees the "dead brother" look on their faces. Only when Mrs. Finch moves into the long-vacant "haunted" house in the neighborhood, and Annie attempts to sell her outdated Junior Sunbird cookies, do things begin to change. Friendship, shared moments, and some careful listening help Annie close her umbrella of sadness. As in The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower (2008) and The Thing About Georgie (2007, both HarperCollins), Graff has created a lively, quirky individual who tells her story with frankness and humor. Annie's three friends come across as real kids who treat Annie's eccentricities with a mixture of understanding and occasional anger. A more complex read than Andrea Beaty's Cicada Summer (Abrams, 2008), Annie's story deals with death with sensitivity, love, and understanding.--Kathryn Kosiorek, formerly at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH

[Page 126]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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