Gem of a book for young readers
Special to The Recorder
Spending an entire summer on a New England island with her grandparents is a great adventure that 9-year-old Nic anticipates throughout winter and spring.
Would summer prove to be a joyous adventure or weeks of loneliness and homesickness?
This is how author and illustrator Astrid Sheckels of Greenfield builds up interest for the youngsters who will be reading this book.
At first, Nicole does feel lonely and sad, even though she has her dog, Nellie, with her. Grandma suggests Nicole walk to the back beach and take Nellie with her.
Grandma is the only one in the story who calls the young girl Nicola instead of Nic, a nice touch.
That beach is Nic’s mother’s favorite one on the island. Sheckel’s drawings of spruce trees at that spot are beautiful.
Other especially lovely drawings show Nic blueberry picking with Grandma and, later, sitting on a rock and looking out to sea.
These are followed by scenes with other children at an ice cream shop, feeding ducks, floating in a rowboat, and, later, eating toasted marshmallows.
“I want to come back every summer, just me and Nellie,” says Nic to Grandpa, the day before she leaves for home.
For children ages 6 to 10, this book is a young reader’s gem.
It is Sheckel’s first book as author and illustrator.
While retired as a columnist, Irmarie Jones continues to review children’s books for The Recorder.