Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Year the Swallows Came Early

The Year the Swallows Came Early

Kathryn Fitzmaurice
For ages 9 to 12
HarperCollins, 2004   ISBN: 978-0061624971

Groovy Robinson's father has been arrested and taken to jail. This is terrible and devastating thing to happen, but what makes it even worse is the fact that Groovy's mother was the one who had him arrested. Feeling shocked and betrayed, Groovy cannot understand why her mother would do such a thing, and she feels as if her whole life has been turned upside down.

Groovy loves cook and to think about food. In her opinion one can match food to situations and to people. Groovy loves cooking so much in fact, that she hopes to go to culinary school when she gets older. Groovy's great-grandmother Eleanor left Groovy some money, which Groovy hopes to use to pay for her schooling. She is therefore devastated when she learns that the reason why her father is in jail is because he took her inheritance out of the bank and gambled it away

Some years ago the mother of  Frankie, Groovy's friend, abandoned him. Frankie refuses to forgive his mother and has become very bitter as a result. Not wanting to become like Frankie, because she can see how damaging his anger is, Groovy tries very hard to stay positive, even though she does not understand why her father stole from her. She starts working on raising money by making chocolate covered strawberries, which she sells. However, despite her good intentions, when the depth of Groovy's father's betrayal is revealed, Groovy's anger takes over. Now she is in real danger of turning into a bitter person, just like Frankie.

This powerful and meaningful book explores the nature of forgiveness, the meaning of true friendship, and the love of family. The author beautifully weaves her message into the rich and warming story. Sprinkled with vivid and incredibly genuine characters, this story will delight readers with its unique style and its compelling narrative.