Posted 20 hours ago

Cuckoo Summer

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The characters in Cuckoo Summer are living, breathing beings and each of them has a distinctive role in the story, which is told from the perspective of Tommy, a loyal and compassionate friend who instinctively knows that all's not right in Sally's world, when she refuses to tell him anything about her former home life. Author of eight novels, including The Season Ticket, Give Us This Day and Mr McCool, Jonathan's work has been filmed, staged and Radio 4 serialised. The crux of the story turns on their discovery of a wounded German airman who has parachuted from his plane and landed in their fields.

Tommy and Sally’s friendship, Sally’s story, Tommy’s concerns and then their secret, build a truly absorbing story that we recommend highly to our readers. In the beginning, Tommy, our narrator, explains Sally’s dialect to us, when necessary, offering definitions for Geordie vocabulary which might be unfamiliar. Your selection was perfect for our children and what really made the difference was your ability to engage with each child, discuss their interests and help them to choose a suitable book based on your extensive knowledge of the books you were selling. It's just so evocatively written - and what a triumph to see this landing in young readers hands, not only sharing the beauty of the countryside but also sharing a little bit of our history too.It is the summer of 1940, and Tommy lives with his three Aunts and young niece on a farm in Woundale in the Lake District. Initially, the plot appears straightforward, but it is the relationship between Tommy and Sally which holds the magic to this story. I only started to vaguely feel interested in her when her secrets came to light, and even then she was frustrating. The blurb sounded suspiciously like Robert Westall's masterpiece, the Machine Gunners, and I wondered doubtfully whether it would measure up. Cuckoo Summer: This adventure novel, set in World War 2, is about friendship, triumph over adversity and resilience.

This one would work well in city schools because it shows a life completely different from the city and the many traditions which still occur - such as the sheep shearing. Cuckoo Summer is pacy and carefully plotted so that everything fits satisfyingly into place by the end and the first person narrative rings true. It’s why Aunt Annie takes little notice of Mr Scarcross’s harsh words about his evacuee friend, Sally Smith. This is a lovely story full of brilliant, believable characters, sparky dialogue between the two children and running through the whole book a love of the landscape in which the children live. The German airman needs their help, but there are much bigger secrets afoot for the children to contend with.

This results in a chain of events that expose the children to danger and uncover secrets about Sally’s past. Your words, like your reviews, bring books to life and give them a voice before the front cover is even turned. Set in the Lake District in 1940 Cuckoo Summer is a beautiful novel of friendship, secrets, loyalty and childhood innocence, bringing to life both the people and the landscape of fells and tarns of the author’s beloved Lakeland. Some are lucky, others, like Sally, less so; she ends up with farmer Scarcross, an ill-tempered, abusive carer.

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