Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: 'Summer and Bird' by Katherine Catmull

✰✰✰✰ Summer and Bird are two very different sisters. One is fair while the other is dark and bird-like. However, when the girls wake up one morning to discover that their parents are missing, they set off into the forest together to find them. Along the way they encounter a magical patchwork bird, whose song leads them to the world of Down. In this frozen and barren world, the girls choose very different paths. Through different circumstances Summer and Bird learn about the Swan Queen, who is the queen of all birds and has been missing for thirteen years.

In the Swan Queen's absence an evil woman known as the Puppeteer has taken up residence in the Swan Queen's castle. While the bird-eating Puppeteer longs to be the queen of birds, she knows that she can never reach that goal without the true queen's robe of feathers. As each girl sets out to find the Swan Queen and her true heir, Bird falls under the spell of the evil Puppeteer. Meanwhile, millions of birds long to reach the long lost Green Home, but only the Swan Queen can lead them there. Without the queen, the birds face certain death. Summer and Bird must make their choices carefully in the quest to defeat the evil Puppeteer, find the queen, and save millions of birds, but time is quickly running out.

The Bottom Line: Summer and Bird is an enchanting read about two sisters who must find their own paths in life. Katherine Catmull paints with words to create a magical world filled with fantasy and longing. Throughout the story the girls learn about the importance of family and to trust their instincts. Both girls struggle to learn that there is more than one way of looking at something and that sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Anyone who has ever secretly dreamed of being a princess will enjoy Catmull's debut book. Also, the fairy tale quality and flowery writing style will appeal to girls in middle school. This story vaguely reminded me of several fairy tales, but especially of the Japanese tale, The Crane Wife; thus, I enjoyed the bittersweet ending.

Details: Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull. Advance Reader's Copy published by Dutton Children's Books in 2012. 384 p. ISBN: 978-0-525-95346-3 Note: I received an advance reading copy of this book from Dutton Children's Books in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

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