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Book Brief: Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer and Matthew Holm


Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer l. Holm & Matthew Holm, color by Lark Pien; Graphix/Scholastic, 217 pages ($24.99 hardcover, $12.99 paperback) Ages 8 to 12.

The brother-sister team behind graphic novel series "Babymouse" and "Squish" offer a marvelous sequel to"Sunny Side Up," a poignant but upbeat tale in which young Sunny was sent off to live with her grandfather at his retirement community in Floria while her parents dealt with their son's drug abuse problem. Now it's September 1976 and Sunny is back home in Pennsylvania just starting middle school, helping her mom take care of her baby brother and missing Dale who has been sent off to a military boarding school. The empty chair at the table, a sports trophy at school remind Sunny of the big brother she always adored - but on visits home he seems so different Sunny wonders if she will ever get her brother back again. Sunny is a winning heroine, as she navigates middle school, gets allergy shots, hangs out with her best friend, finds a surprising new friend in the neighborhood and keeps trying to reconnect with her brother. Although the target age group is 8 to 12, the Holms offer a tale rich in 1970s nostalgia, with Sunny's enthusiasm for TV shows like "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Brunch," ("We have four whole channels and UHF! There aren't enough hours in the day to watch everything!") Pet Rocks and TV dinners ("I call Salisbury steak!").

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