Set in the late 1930s, Thimble Summer captures the era’s atmosphere of farm life in Wisconsin. Elizabeth Enright wrote this while people were just beginning to recover from the Dust Bowl further south, and the book gives an excellent sense of the Depression years through a child’s eyes.
Garnet Linden, ten years old, gets herself into a different scrape every chapter. The story starts with the silver thimble she finds half buried in the river bank, and Garnet decides it will bring her good luck. All her adventures through the rest of the summer “prove” it. Life isn’t always easy, and she knows her father worries about the bills, but as the season comes to a close, she can look back on adventures that brought so many treasures to hold close to her heart for a lifetime.
- Children who love a gentle, happy story with enough challenges to keep them interested will love the book.
- Enright provides wonderful details teaching today’s readers what farming was like in the twentieth century before World War II, such as how neighbors teamed up to get everyone’s harvest in and how farm machinery was relatively new.
Children who love action and adventure, or adults who deem no story is a good story without building toward a strong climax will not like Thimble Summer.
- What chores did Garnet help out with?
- Would you prefer to be Eric, who lived on his own for over a year, or would you prefer to be part of a family like Garnet’s? Why?
- How was it possible that no one missed Garnet when she ran away for the whole day?
I write reviews for Vintage Reads for the sole purpose of pointing readers to great books of yesteryear. This is the second book by Elizabeth Enright that I’ve reviewed. You can find my opinion of The Saturdays here. She has ten more books for children, and each one paints a beautiful picture of Americana.