I picked up this 1939 Newbery award winner for several reasons. One, I needed an E author for my Reading My Library challenge. Two, I remembered that Enright made the Top 100 Children’s Novels list, and that her book, The Saturdays, is one that Sherry recommended in the comments of my post. The Saturdays wasn’t on the shelf at my library, but Thimble Summer was. Three, I actually read this story as a child, and I remember enjoying it, so I thought I’d give it another try. Four, it’s short, and I’ve had a hard time settling into anything lately. (You can attest to that if you’ve paid any attention to my “I’m Reading” widget over there in the sidebar. I have been doing a lot of reading, but I’ve also been doing a lot of discarding.)
This was a good read for me at this point in my pregnancy (er, life). Pregnancy does wack-o things to my brain, and I have a hard time comprehending anything very deep or difficult. (Can I get an amen, sisters?) Obviously, Thimble Summer is a work of juvenile fiction, and an antique one, at that, so there’s nothing very challenging about the story. It is an enjoyable one, though. It’s the story of ten year old Garnet Linden and her summer. That’s it. It’s very episodic, so it would make a great read-aloud since each chapter can very easily stand on its own.
Garnet has quite a few adventures, several of which we would be absolutely terrified if our children did nowadays (i.e. hitching a ride to a neighboring town after getting mad at her brother), so I think it would go over well with the early-to-upper elementary crowd. The whole premise of the story is that Garnet finds a silver thimble in a dry creek bed, and that very night a long standing drought is broken and a whole slew of fun things happen to her in the coming weeks. The thimble, then, serves to signify to her that her “luck” is changing; the summary on the back of my library copy even goes so far as to call the thimble a “talisman.” I think that’s a very heavy-handed appraisal of one little event in this fun story, myself. In fact, the thimble is rather forgettable, and even Garnet herself only mentions it in the story a few times after finding it.
I think my favorite part in the story is when Garnet and her friend Citronella (yes, that is her name) are inadvertently locked in the town’s library after closing hours. They are rescued, of course, before spending the entire night there, and their friend and neighbor Mr. Freebody comments,
“Yes sir! . . . Don’t you be fooled! Those ain’t two little girls you see settin’ up there; those are two genuwine bookworms, couldn’t stop reading long enough to come home. Planning to take up permanent residence in the liberry from now on, ain’tcha?”
This brought a smile to my face and might’ve even elicited a few giggles from me if I hadn’t been sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. This tickled me because back when I was a college student, I worked in our town’s public library. While I was employed there, our city built a new library. Our pest control man, who came monthly I guess, would ask every time he came, “When y’all gunna move into that new liberry?” It didn’t matter that surely he could see for himself just how far the building project had progressed–he still asked the very same question. It became a big joke among our little staff. Fun times! 🙂
Thimble Summer is just a good little book that reminds me ever-so-slightly of Betsy-Tacy (read my thoughts here). I’m not sure that such a book would ever win the Newbery nowadays, but it evokes the feelings of a peaceful bygone era that makes me long for such a society in which to raise my children. I enjoyed it!
So now it’s on to the F section for my next Reading My Library selection. If you’re interested, here’s what I’ve read so far:
- A: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
- B: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
- C: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- D: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
Any recommendations for a juvenile or YA book by an author whose last name begins with F?