Scholastic Inc | August 2015 | 224 pgs
Source: Purchased

The year is 1976, Pennsylvania. 10-year-old Sunny Lewin is supposed to spend her summer vacation with her family at a beach house, but there's some issue at home and she ended up flying down to Florida herself to live with her grandfather for the summer. She is disappointed at first, but thought Florida might be a fun place to visit, after all she could visit Disney World. But her grandfather's place is no fun for a 10-year-old girl; it is a place called "Pine Palms" and is a retirement community for people over 55. Fortunately for her, she met a boy her age there. Buzz's father works as a groundskeeper at Pine Palms and Buzz knows all the fun things to do there (facing off against alligators when they go golf balls picking, rescuing runaway cats and reading all the superheroes comic books they could find).

Sunny Side Up is very much of a reminiscent kind of story and about the simplicity of life living in the late 70s. What I liked about the story:

  • the simple introductions of a few superheroes and their qualities 
  • Grandpa's witty remarks and his positivity outlook on life
  • Pine Palms is very much of a low-end resort with golf course and pools (but no swimming as there are alligators. Hmph!) 
  • the tight-knit community where everybody knows everybody and looking out for one another

Finally, the message behind this story over the issue involving substance abuse (drug or alcohol abuse problem), in which Sunny's elder brother is facing and that young readers who are facing these same problems today should reach out to family members and teachers/school counsellors and seek help should they find themselves or anyone having this issue instead of feeling ashamed and scared; and most of all thinking that it is something that has to be kept as secrets. Overall it is a heartwarming story and is suitable to middle grade children without the heavy undertone of the issue mentioned.

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4 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    This sounds like fun--maybe because I can remember a simpler time when children played outside and with other kids more often than they do now. Not that kids don't still do some of the same things, but that with all the technology it is so easy to entertain oneself by oneself. I wonder what kids think when reading books that are placed in a time before ipads and cell phones and computers available for everyone....

    Even communities where everyone knows and looks out for everyone else are rarer than they used to be. The book appears to tackle some important issues and the societal changes that affect them.

  2. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Kids today are too e grossed with ipads and computers; while it isn't entirely a bad thing it's more of the contents which concerns me.

    Yes, I totally agree with your second paragraph. It's such a rarity to have communities looking out for one another now, which I find it sad. Either life is too hectic now or people simply mind their own business. I'm hoping there'll be more books featuring the past for our children to read so that they will understand the simple joy of life even without technology.

  3. Lark Says:

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who still likes to read children's fiction; the time period and the setting of this one makes me want to run to my library and check this one out as soon as possible. :) And the cover! Makes me long for summer.

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - I enjoy reading children's fiction. Not only they're fun but I also like discussing some of the books I read with my daughters. Great bonding time! :)

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