Review Detail

Summer on the beach
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Papa, Dad and the boys are back after the school year they had in The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher. They have been coming for a few weeks every summer, and the best thing about Rock Island is that it never changes. That is, until it does. The lighthouse next to the family cabin has always been open to the public, and the Fletchers use it as a place to escape when the cabin gets too crowded. This year, not only is the lighthouse closed, but it is probably being sold to an artist. Eli misses his friends and is a bit tired of so much family time, Jax and Sam make friends with Alex, who lives nearby, only to be startled by Alex later, and Frog tries unsuccessfully to teach an older cat to swim before turning his attention to the family kitten. Aunt Lucy plans to come to visit and bring cupcakes from her shop, and her significant other Elon has a heart-to-heart with the boys about how Rock Island is not used to seeing people of color. The boys also learn that the artist might not have good designs on the lighthouse property, and expose him before Rock Island changes drastically.
Good Points
This is a great series about a nontraditional family. The interpersonal dynamics in this are true-to-life: Eli feels that he is too old to hang out with the family, there's some tension among the adults, and Frog is an annoying (but funny) younger brother. It's sort of funny that Rock Island's motto is "Welcome to Rock Island, Where Time Stands Still!", but no one gives the Fletchers a hard time.

Like this first book in the series, this is very episodic, and delivers snap shots of the summer in a warm and humorous fashion. This would make a great read aloud, especially on vacation in a beach rental!

This was strongly reminiscent of other "summers at the shore" books like Greenwald's Welcome to Dog Beach, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, Howland's The Forget-Me-Not Summer and Hapka's Heart of a Dolphin. Had a retro vibe to it, despite the family's diversity.
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