Review Blog

May 06 2009

Cicada Summer by Kate Constable

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Allen and Unwin, 2009. ISBN 97817417828 3
(Ages 10+)Highly recommended. Gently reflecting the twin values of family and friendship, Cicada Summer will captivate readers as they examine the enigmatic Eloise and her struggle to communicate. She is a lonely yet resilient 12 year old, wary of people, but desperate to have a friend. She takes risks, and although unable to speak, watches with an artist's observant eye.
Moving to the country supposes a fresh start for Eloise and her dad. With his grandiose ideas of developing his mother's long empty house, he hopes Eloise will find her voice, lost after her mother died. Not happy to see them, Eloise's Gran, Mo, is wrapped in her own reclusive world, and is even less happy when her son leaves for the city. An unhappy combination, Mo retreats to her study, while Eloise grabs an old bike from the garage to ride to Mo's abandoned house, briefly seen on the way. There she walks into a time when the house is full of people, the garden cared for and a child of her own age there to be her friend.
The world Eloise inhabits is both familiar and unsettling as she returns each day to be with Anna. The two girls paint the summerhouse, Eloise further developing her drawing and painting skills, and through her friendship with Anna, learning to accept her mother's death. Christmas sees Elois's father return with a friend and Mo's next door neighbours, the Durranis, decide to cook the Christmas meal for the family joining in with their celebrations. The stage is set for some revealing behavior from all sides.
Fran Knight

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