Book Review of Summertime & The Livin’ is Easy
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The Children’s Book Review
Summertime & The Livin’ is Easy
Written and Illustrated by Edwina Louise Dorch
Ages 8+ | 80 Pages
Publisher: Orion Press | ISBN-13: 9781956691085
What to Expect: Family, poverty, homelessness, faith.
In this deceptively complex middle-grade novel, the story of Hansel and Gretel gets a modern makeover. The narrative portrays complex topics, such as poverty, privilege, abuse, and immigration, but also offers a message of hope about the power of faith and family to overcome hardships in life.
Jasmine and Frankie live a rough life. Because they are poor, their mother must work as a maid to make enough money to buy them food and clothes, and Jasmine must work alongside her mother. Frankie works with their abusive stepfather and is constantly in trouble for not washing windows well enough. As Jasmine compares her life to the rich little girl she and her mother clean for, who seems to have money, love, and luxury, Jasmine loses her faith in God. If God were real, how could he be so unfair? Then, when the children venture out into the night to find the lost bread money, a miracle happens that might just restore her faith.
Jasmine and Frankie are realistic, sympathetic characters, and the detailed sensory descriptions in the story bring the city they live in alive, inviting readers to experience their lives for themselves. Simple black-and-white illustrations offer an extra element of context to the story.
Summertime & The Livin’ is Easy is thought-provoking and instructive and would work well as a catalyst for further discussion about poverty, family, and faith.
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About the Author
Edwina L. Dorch is a Ph.D. psychologist who lives on a barrier island off the Florida Coast. She is also a contemporary, abstract, minimalist artist who paints female figures and seascapes. Additionally, as an art therapy coach, she believes creating art is a genuine coping mechanism that can facilitate resilience and the ability to recover from setbacks. In other words, selecting and applying paint is a way to manage stress and anxiety, relax, and release pent-up emotions. Her paintings appear in a number of Galleries of Local Artists along the Florida A1A highway.
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