A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sunny Side Up is a funny and affecting middle-grade graphic novel by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, the sister-and-brother team behind the Babymouse and Squish graphic-novel series for younger readers. Here, 10-year-old Sunny Lewin unexpectedly has to spend the summer of 1976 with her grandfather at his Florida retirement community. She learns some hard lessons about disappointment, bottling up feelings, and being honest about family troubles. Violence is limited to a punch that hurts more emotionally than physically. Sunny's grandfather smokes, and her teen brother smokes, drinks, and takes drugs.
What's the story?
When Sunny Lewin arrives in Florida in the summer of 1976, she assumes she'll be spending her days at the beach or at Disney World. Life at her grandfather's retirement village turns out to be not very exciting. Luckily, she's able to make friends with Buzz, the only other kid in the area, and they have adventures rescuing cats, reading comics, and swapping golf balls for cash. But Sunny is carrying around a lot of secrets, which eventually come spilling out. SUNNY SIDE UP explores how to make the best of an uncomfortable situation.
Is it any good?
With sensitivity and good humor, this graphic novel provides a portrait of a loving family negotiating some difficult times. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm capture the excitement, boredom, and absurdity of an unexpected trip to Florida. Sunny is a likable and adventurous main character, and her interactions with her friend Buzz and her grandfather ring with well-observed detail. The serious topics of tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction are handled with finesse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why comics and graphic novels are so popular. What kinds of stories are best suited to the medium?
What kinds of conflicts arise when people from different generations live together? What kinds of accommodations can be made so everyone is more comfortable?
If a member of the family is abusing alcohol or drugs, what can be done to help him or her? Is it better to keep the situation a secret or to find ways to talk about it?
- Authors: Matthew Holm, Jennifer Holm
- Illustrator: Matthew Holm
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Superheroes, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Graphix
- Publication date: August 25, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, iBooks, Kindle
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