Cover image for Starfish summer
Starfish summer
Gritz, Ona.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [1998]

Physical Description:
88 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A young girl learns how to be more independent from her mother during a summer at the beach.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Mamas girl! Thats what the kids at school call Amy. But spending the summer at the beach with her aunt Jenny will give Amy the chance to prove them wrong. Shell make new friends . . . and maybe even learn how to ride a bike! Amy has high hopes for the summer, but they fall flat when she realizes that the other girl her age, Crystal, just doesnt want to be friends.Its only when a kindly neighbor teaches Amy about the magic of starfish that Amy finds a way to reach out to Crystal and display her own brand of courage. Ona Gritz-Gilberts first novel is a funny, warm exploration of two girls who overcome their fear of getting hurt and find true friendship.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gritz-Gilbert's quiet, languidly paced first novel takes place in a small beach community, where New Yorker Amy spends the summer with her great-aunt Jenny, who makes dolls from socks and smells "like tangerines and yellowed books." Though Amy is determined to shake her "Mama's girl" image and make new friends, she's homesick for her overprotective mother and greatly misses "not just the feel of Mom's hugs but their smell, like a loaf of oatmeal bread baking." Crystal, the girl next door who feels abandoned by her most recent close friend, exacerbates matters when she rebuffs Amy's attempts to get to know her, remaining "as sharp and cold as the salt water when you first step in." Amy's relationship with a kind, elderly blind man who shows remarkable insight into Amy's feelings provides some warm moments in the narrative. Yet the standoff between the girls grows tiresome, as does the author's heavy-handed, often flowery similes and imagery (e.g., Crystal's voice "made Amy think of lacy, old fashioned dresses"). Even the most poetic-minded young readers may find this tale a bit old-fashioned. Ages 7-10. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-While Amy's mother is away, the child stays at the beach with her Great-Aunt Jenny. During the summer she hopes to overcome her "Mama's girl" image and become more independent. Crystal, the only other girl her age in the neighborhood, snubs her and Amy soon becomes frustrated. The elderly people in the community witness this, but only blind Mr. Fine understands the problem. He tells Amy that Crystal was hurt when a friend she made last summer did not keep in touch after she left. He also helps Amy deal with her own homesickness by telling her about starfish and their "magical" ability to grow back a lost arm, explaining that the space left in her heart by missing someone can be filled once again. When Amy describes this analogy to Crystal, she reaches out and helps Amy learn to ride a bike. The characters tend to be one dimensional and the story has no surprises. Black-and-white pencil drawings appear throughout. The theme of understanding others from their point of view and finding one's place is better dealt with in Patricia MacLachlan's Arthur, for the Very First Time (Harper, 1980), but Gritz-Gilbert's book is easier reading and will appeal to fans of seashore stories.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.