Summer's Shadow

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
Summer's Shadow Movie Poster Image
Squeaky-clean dog caper is weighed down by heavy themes.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Never give up. Doing the right thing is more important than money.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Summer selflessly protects and takes care of Shadow, stands up for a kid being bullied, and is giving to others.

Violence & Scariness

A vet warns Summer that Shadow may die from complications from heartworm. A kid is bullied.

Sexy Stuff

Talk of adult relationships and one kiss. Tween girls strut onto the scene to sexy music, though none is dressed provocatively.


A few insults such as "freak."


Clear anti-consumerist message when the neighborhood says it doesn't want big-box stores moving in.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Summer's Shadow is a family film from Steve Franke, writer and director of the Adventures of Bailey series. The film features many of the same actors from other Franke films, including Bailey as the dog Shadow. Though the content is pretty clean (with only some moderately sad scenes), a lot of time is spent discussing themes that probably will be boring to most kids, including failing relationships, hiring a developer, and caring for an elderly relative.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old July 16, 2017

Summer's Shadow Isn't Really A Dog Movie

Difficult times have created infighting in the otherwise idyllic neighborhood where 12-year-old Summer Larsen has just moved. There is controversy when people l... Continue reading

What's the story?

Summer (Belle Shouse) and her dad (Todd Terry) have moved to yet another new neighborhood as he helps hire a developer to finish building it. Along with her new friend Lanny (Aidan Langford), Summer sets up a lemonade stand to earn money to go to boarding school in London while Summer's dad fights against the influence of the scheming Mrs. Tupperworth (Juli Erickson). When Summer adopts a stray dog they name Shadow, she discovers she needs all the help she can get from adult neighbors Cole (Mark Hanson) and Jessica (Liz Franke) to save Shadow and help her dad save the neighborhood.

Is it any good?

Although it has a lot of similarities to the Adventures of Bailey series, SUMMER'S SHADOW is missing some of the fun and lightheartedness that made those films enjoyable. Most of the characters are dealing with intense issues such as divorce, loneliness, bullying, or illness, and a few scenes romping with Shadow aren't enough to lift the gloom. Also, much of the film focuses on adult issues that are honestly quite boring, such as hiring an honest developer to finish building the neighborhood. The scenes that deal with why Jessica is single and why Summer's parents' relationship fell apart also feel a bit out of place in a kids' movie.

Parents no doubt will appreciate how great of a role model Summer is, especially when she stands up for Lanny against the popular girls. But kids will wish for more fun dog scenes and less adult talk.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about hiding things from parents. Do you think it was OK for Summer to hide Shadow from her dad? Or should she have asked him right away if she could keep Shadow?

  • Besides being mean and grumpy, why was Mrs. Tupperworth the villain of the movie? What did she do that wasn't right?

  • Do you like this film as much as the Adventures of Bailey series? Which stories are your favorites?

  • How can you be a responsible pet owner?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dogs

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate