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Garmann’s Summer

by Stian Hole
Translated by Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett

Published by U.S. edition: Eerdmans, 2008
40 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5339-4

Ages 6-10

This unusual picture book from Norway tells of Garmann’s sixth summer—a summer during which he anxiously awaits the start of his first year at school and the loss of his first tooth. Surreal collage illustrations show dreamlike scenes with fanciful birds and flowers, and people with exaggerated head sizes and facial expressions, capturing Garmann’s childlike perceptions of things familiar and things imagined. Visiting Garmann’s family are three elderly aunts, Augusta, Borghild, and Ruth. Weathered and wrinkled women with pearl necklaces and pearly dentures, these ancient ladies are from a different land and time, Garmann believes. Still, he asks them each in turn, “What are you scared of?” Piecing their answers together with the responses from his parents, Garmann ponders fear on both philosophical and personal levels. Meanwhile, summer comes to a close, signaling the departure of the aunts and the arrival of school. “Thirteen hours to go before school starts. And Garmann is scared.” Garmann still hasn’t lost a tooth, nor does he feel ready for school, but based on his summer full of observations Garmann concludes that perhaps we are never ready to fully face our fears. This thoughtful and original book offers an imaginative look at the inner mind of a young child, as well as providing a tender and amusing summertime story for a range of readers.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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