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The Summer of the Swans [Paperback]

By Betsy Byars (Author) & Ted Coconis (Illustrator)
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Item Number 160988  
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Item description for The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars & Ted Coconis...

When her retarded brother becomes lost in the woods fourteen-year-old Sara finally breaks out of her shell

Publishers Description
"The longest day in the life of a 14-year-old girl--the summer day her loved, mentally retarded brother is lost, the day she discovers compassion is a friend. A compelling story."--"Publishers Weekly
Newbery Award Book"

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars & Ted Coconis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 960
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/1995 page 434
  • Wilson Children's Catalog 96 - 01/01/1996 page 517
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2000 page 441
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2001 page 435
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2005 page 577
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 641
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2009 page 791

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Puffin
Pages   142
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.78" Width: 5.08" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 30, 1981
Publisher   Puffin
Age  9-12
ISBN  0140314202  
ISBN13  9780140314205  
UPC  051488002994  

Availability  10 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 09:48.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Betsy Byars & Ted Coconis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Betsy Byars began her writing career rather late in life. "In all of my school years, . . . not one single teacher ever said to me, 'Perhaps you should consider becoming a writer, '" Byars recalls. "Anyway, I didn't want to be a writer. Writing seemed boring. You sat in a room all day by yourself and typed. If I was going to be a writer at all, I was going to be a foreign correspondent like Claudette Colbert in Arise My Love. I would wear smashing hats, wisecrack with the guys, and have a byline known round the world. My father wanted me to be a mathematician." So Byars set out to become mathematician, but when she couldn't grasp calculus in college, she turned to English. Even then, writing was not on her immediate horizon.

First, she married and started a family. The writing career didn't emerge until she was 28, a mother of two children, and living in a small place she called the barracks apartment, in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband, Ed, had moved there in 1956 so he could attend graduate school at the University of Illinois. She was bored, had no friends, and so turned to writing to fill her time. Byars started writing articles for The Saturday Evening Post, Look, and other magazines. As her family grew and her children started to read, she began to write books for young people and, fortunately for her readers, discovered that there was more to being a writer than sitting in front of a typewriter.

"Making up stories and characters is so interesting that I'm never bored. Each book has been a different writing experience. It takes me about a year to write a book, but I spend another year thinking about it, polishing it, and making improvements. I always put something of myself intomy books -- something that happened to me. Once a wanderer came by my house and showed me how to brush my teeth with a cherry twig; that went in The House of Wingscopyright (c) 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Betsy Byars has published or released items in the following series...
  1. I Can Read Books: Level 3
  2. Penguin Young Readers: Level 3
  3. Trophy Chapter Books (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( S ) > Stevenson, Robert Louis
3Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Classics by Age > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Summer of the Swans?

An Amazing Book  Jan 5, 2008
Personally I love this book. It is about a 14-year-old girl named Sara Godfrey who is going through a confusing summer. She is hitting puberty and feels depressed a lot of the time. Sara lives with her Aunt Willie, college-aged sister Wanda, a aging dog named Boysie, and her mentally handicapped 10-year-old brother, Charlie. Charlie also shows signs of autism (For instance his infatuation with his watch,) but this book was originally published in 1970 when imformation about autism was less widespread so it's not mentioned. One night Sara takes Charlie to the lake to see the swans, and something about them fascinates him. He wants to stay, but she takes him home with her. That night, Charlie wakes up and wanders out of the house trying to find them again and gets lost in the woods. That morning Sara and her family embark on a desperate search to find him. This book is a quick read but it's so good, with it's detailed descriptions and memorable charactors, that you won't feel cheated.
The Summer of the Swans  Dec 8, 2007
ISBN 0140314202 - Put Betsy Byars and the Newbery Award on the cover of a book and you've already reeled me in - so to be disappointed is a bigger letdown than you'd think! Not a bad book, just not a great book.

Sara is the middle child, between mute Charlie and pretty Wanda. Their parents, one dead and one very absent, have tasked Aunt Willie with the care of the children and all seems fairly standard - a little bickering, a "you can't tell me what to do" argument, etc - until the day Sara takes Charlie to see the swans. Charlie finds the swans fascinating and soothing and doesn't want to leave, so when he looks out his window that night and sees something white moving, he is sure they have come to find him. Leaving the house in the darkness, Charlie becomes lost and Sara discovers things about herself, her brother and others in the hours after he is discovered missing.

For the first time, I find Byars' character's speech a bit off for their age. Sara's use of the word "bloomers" and the sentence "I just acted too hastily." don't seem to fit a girl in her early teens in the 1970s, although the reference to TV game shows of the time was amusing. Sara may be just "coming of age" but she ends up seeming, at times, like a much older adult - and not in the "mature for her age" sense. If you're looking to read all the Newbery winners, then you'll want to read this one. For a really good book, or even for the best Byars offers, this isn't it.
Summer of the Swans review  Nov 6, 2007
This is a good book for anyone who likes realistic fiction. I personally mainly read fantasy books. I didn't really enjoy the book, but it was our asigned book in school. If you like realistic fiction than you'll like this book.
Theresa's Review ; )  Sep 30, 2007
This book is a mixture of drama,emotions, and different kinds of relationships. A 10 year old boy getting lost,an aunt flipping out, an a bad father,daughter relationship,all in one small book. This book was really interesting to me because I could relate to a lot of the characters. Sara,Mary, and Wanda are the characters I could most relate to,just small details.It is hard for me to capture this book in a few sentences, and I could usually can.
Our last read for the Fourth Grade girls summer book club  Sep 10, 2007
We really enjoyed the pace of this book. The entire book happened in 2 days. That gave the author a lot of time to develop the characters. It was easy to relate to how the characters felt, especially Sara and Charley. It was our favorite of all the books we read this summer for book club.

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