A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in late 1976, Swing It, Sunny! brings the action back from Florida to the Lewins' suburban home. The graphic novel can serve as a springboard for discussion on how to help family members with drug or alcohol problems.
If someone in your family is having trouble with drugs or alcohol, it's OK to talk about it and seek help. Keeping secrets to keep the peace is not always the best way to handle things. Even though family members get angry with one another, they still love one another.
Positive Role Models
Sunny Lewin is a bright, friendly, mostly cheerful grade-school girl who tries to please the people around her. She tends to keep any bad feelings bottled up inside, however, and she feels responsible for keeping other people's secrets. She eventually learns to express her anger and disappointment and to develop new interests that help her take care of herself.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sunny is fascinated by the TV soap opera General Hospital and develops a crush on one of the doctors.
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Products & Purchases
The TV soap opera General Hospital plays a role in the plot, as does an official "Pet Rock."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Sunny's older brother smokes and has had trouble with alcohol and drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Swing It, Sunny continues the story begun in Sunny Side Up, 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 returns home from her summer in Florida and learns that her family still has problems it needs to deal with. She tries to keep a positive attitude, even as her brother Dale lashes out in anger at everyone. Sunny learns some hard lessons about disappointment, bottling up feelings, and being honest about family troubles. Sunny's older brother smokes and has had experience with drugs and alcohol.
Is It Any Good?
A positive attitude can sometimes help troubles go away, and this gentle, humorous, and honest graphic novel demonstrates the value of optimism and persistence. Swing It, Sunny celebrates a specific time (1976-77), when kids had a little more freedom to explore their neighborhoods. Despite her sometimes brash personality, Sunny is a sensitive and kind girl, and the author and illustrator carefully delineate the love the Lewins have for one another as they experience trying times. Middle school girls are most likely to enjoy Sunny's adventures, but the series, with its great character work and whimsical action, may appeal to a wide range of readers.
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