Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Somebody Else’s Summer

Little, Jean (Author)
Penguin Random House Canada 2006. 184 pages
First published: 2005
ISBN: 9780143016434 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

On a flight from Vancouver to Toronto, horse-crazy Samantha and bookish Alexis listen enviously to the other’s vacation plans. Since their hosts have never met them, and their parents are far away, it makes perfect sense to trade places. By chance, the homes are close to each other, making it easy to strengthen their secret alliance.

Both humour and tension are present when the girls enter their hosts’ homes. “For a split second, Alex longed to run after one of the women and confess. The thought of keeping up such a complicated deception scared her.”

Presented in the third person, the author balances both girls’ points of view. Human relationships with horses and dogs abound, complemented by an overly talkative parrot who adds delightful craziness to the plot twists.

Family relationships, with their rivalry and loyalty are expertly explored, as well as a child’s yearning to be valued and accepted. In a non-judgmental tone, the story concludes with a family crisis and a touching and gratifying resolution, where truth wins out. The characters settle gratefully into who they really are.

  •  Imagine that you have the chance to change places with someone. Who would you like to change places with and why?
  •  

    As you read, create character maps for both Samantha and Alexis. Which person do you resemble most?

  •  

    In small groups, role play the turning point in the story. Act out the lead up, the moment when the host mom finds out about the exchange plans, and the aftermath.

  •  

    In this story, the girls befriend an older neighbour, Mr. George Carr. Discuss the types of activities that can be shared by intergenerational friends.

  •  

    Discuss what you enjoy doing while on vacation. What do you not enjoy? Have one person record everyone’s ideas. Using this list as a reference, write down your personal best and worst vacation ideas.

  •  

    As you read, create character maps for Samantha and Alexis.

  •  In small groups, role play the host mom finding out about the exchange plans.
  •  

    In this story, the girls befriend an older neighbour, Mr. George Carr. Discuss the types of activities can be shared by intergenerational friends.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life