Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bird Lake Moon

Bird Lake Moon

Kevin Henkes
For ages 9 to 12
HarperCollins, 2010   ISBN: 978-0061470790

Mitch is feeling very angry and let down. His father has left the family because he has gone "to live with someone else." How could his father do something like this to Mitch and his mother? Mitch's whole life feels unreal and confusing.

Now Mitch is spending the summer at his grandparent's house by Bird Lake. Both Mitch and his mother needed to get away from the city for a while, so they took refuge here. Soon after they arrived at the lake Mitch begins to spend time around the old empty house next door. He sweeps off the porch, carves his initials on the wooden railing, and he begins to imagine what it would be like if he and his mother could buy the house and live in it. It would be perfect.

Then, out of the blue, a family comes to stay in the house next door and Mitch, who has already lost so much, feels disappointed and angrier than ever. How dare these people take over 'his' house. It does not help matters that the family – a mother, a father, a boy, a little girl, and the family dog – seem to be wonderfully happy.

Wanting to pay the world back for what has happened to him, Mitch begins a campaign to scare the neighbors away. He does not know that they, like him, carry the weight of a family loss on their shoulders. He does not think that perhaps he and the boy next door, Spencer, might have something in common and that they might be able to become friends.

In this moving and thought provoking book, award winning author Kevin Henkes explores the ways in which children are affected by a loss in their family. Though Mitch's pain is acute, he finds hope again thanks to a precious friendship. It is a friendship that shows him that life can indeed go on, and that mistakes can be forgiven. Beautifully written and carefully paced, this is a book that readers will remember long after they have finished reading the last page.