Review Blog

Sep 25 2007

Stride's summer by Jenni Overend

cover image Allen and Unwin, 2007
(Age 11-14) The summer he loses his father to the sea, Stride is unable to cope with the extra demands placed upon him by his mother. She too is grieving the loss of her husband and must take responsibility for the whole family on her own. Seeing Stride in his father's clothes and with the cockatoo, Ferd, unsettles her and his persistent lack of cooperation drives a wedge between them.

But this is also the summer he meets Jess, and her interest in him begins with Ferd. She has had experience with birds, and unsettles Stride, suggesting that he allow the cockatoo his freedom. Stride is not able to do this, seeing the bird as a link to his dead father. The two waltz around each other, Stride at first not wanting her to be anywhere near him, but gradually she insinuates herself closer and closer, until Stride looks for her on the beach.

The decision by his mother to sell their cottage is a catalyst for Stride to take off to his grandfather's place, but it is the height of summer, and the threat of fire is ever present.
A coming of age story about a boy learning to accept change in his life, this book will appeal to upper primary and lower secondary students, particularly boys.
Fran Knight
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