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Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes

Author: Kevin Henkes
Book title: Bird Lake Moon
ISBN10: 0061470767
ISBN13: 978-0061470769
Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Printing edition (April 22, 2008)
Language: English
Pages: 192
Size PDF: 1108 kb
Size FB2: 1357 kb
Size ePUB: 1102 kb
Rating: 4.3 ✯
Votes: 892
Subcategory: Growing Up & Facts of Life

Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes

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Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes
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Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes
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Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes
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Spencer thought the house might be haunted.

Mitch knew it wasn't. And he knew why.

The whole time Spencer and Mitch hung out together at Bird Lake that summer, there were secrets keeping them apart.

And maybe a secret knowledge keeping them together, too—together like members of the same tribe. Like friends.

Reviews (7)
Light out of Fildon
I had read "Olive's Ocean" by Henkes in the past and was blown away (and I am a male in my 30s!). So it was an easy decision to read "Bird Lake Moon" when it came out. And I was not disappointed at all. Henkes' attention to detail (without long descriptions that get you off track), along with very real and natural responses from the characters, brings the story to life. And I am not saying that just to say that he does it well. Rather, reading this book is more like an experience than simply witnessing a story, and thus that realism and corresponding empathy engages the reader.
furious ox
as advertised
Yadon
I am a middle school librarian and our copy was misplaced. I was very glad to find a reasonably priced book in good condition to donate to my school.
Tcaruieb
I loved this book!!!! It's so awesome and it is a great story for kids to read!! I am going to right a paper about this book!!!
PanshyR
Twelve-year-old Mitch Sinclair just found out that his father has left him and his mother for another woman. Torn apart by the news, he and his mom go up to Bird Lake to stay with his grandparents for a while. Unfortunately, his grandparents seem to feel very uncomfortable with their two houseguests, creating an edgy atmosphere.

To stay out of their way, Mitch spends as much time as he can away from the house, including swimming in the lake and exploring the empty house next door. Desperate for something solid to hold on to, he decides to claim the empty house as his own. He carves his initials into the railing and moves a few belongings under the porch. He begins dreaming that he and his mom might buy it for real and move in together. But then they arrive.

Ten-year-old Spencer Stone has a seven-year-old sister named Lolly who annoys him to no end. They used to have an older brother, Matty, but he drowned when Spencer was two. Spencer doesn't remember him, but he can feel the sadness emanating from his parents, even after all this time. Then one day, his mom and dad announce that they are going for a little vacation, up to the house on Bird Lake, where Matty died. After avoiding the house since the accident, the family is finally going to decide whether to keep it or sell it.

Mitch feels angry toward the Intruders. Another thing that's important is being taken away from him, and he decides to fight. He hatches a scheme to scare the family away with a ghost infestation. But then he has to start dealing with the guilt feelings sweeping over him. Just because his parents are causing him pain, does that give him the right to cause pain to others?

Spencer loves the house on the lake, but he can see how stressed his mom is at being there. And then he begins witnessing strange occurrences. Are they messages from his dead brother?

Award-winning author Kevin Henkes brings us another touching novel that dives into the emotional storms of family loss. He handles the fragile subject with honesty and sensitivity, offering it up through realistic characters. The chapters cleverly alternate between Mitch and Spencer, sharing different perspectives of the story. Henkes has a beautiful writing style and descriptive elegance that adds a special touch to this charming book.

--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman, author of FINDING MY LIGHT and THE BLACK POND
Innadril
My knowledge of Kevin Henkes, the author, never extended outside of his picture books (and what picture books they are!). I thoroughly enjoyed his fun titles like Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Chrysanthemum and for the longest time, I thought this was all there was to Kevin Henkes. I hate to admit it, but it wasn't until recently that I realized his novel Olive's Ocean was a Newbery Honor Book. I didn't even know he wrote novels (he's written 8)! So when I saw that the Wisconsin native's latest novel, Bird Lake Moon, was being generously reviewed as everything from a ghost story, to an edge-of-your-seat page turner, to a suspenseful summer adventure yarn, I couldn't get my hands on a copy fast enough.

The last thing Mitch Sinclair wanted to do this summer was stay with his grandparents at Bird Lake. If Mitch had it his way, his parents would NOT be getting a divorce and his family of three would be working out their problems together at home in Madison. Spencer Stone wanted nothing more than to come to his family's cabin on Bird Lake, but ever since his 4 year old brother drowned in the lake years ago, the getaway has lost its appeal. This summer however, Spencer is getting his wish as his family looks to return to Bird Lake and put their past behind them.

I should tell you up front, I have A LOT to say about this book and that this review will be very long. If you'd rather discover some of the plot particulars on your own, you might not want to read on. Some people would maybe think I give away too many SPOILERS. But if you too, are wanting to read this book, and are expecting some of the very same things I expected (a ghost story, a mystery, adventure), please read on, because you'll find that nothing I discuss is truly worthy of a SPOILER WARNING. The thing is, there is no mystery or suspense or summer adventure in this story and what really upset me upon reading it, despite the expectations I set, is that there very easily could have been.

I suppose I can maybe see where the "ghost story" comparisons come in. The only satisfaction Mitch gets out of Bird Lake is the uninhabited house that sits next to his grandparents'. When Spencer's family shows up, occupies the house, and ruins Mitch's own private hiding place, he feels that he can scare them away by making it look as if a ghost is haunting the house, unaware of the fact that the Stone's lost a family member in the lake years ago. This may sound a bit demented on my part, but that could serve as one heck of a premise, especially with the alternating point of view chapter style that Henkes uses here. I was excited about where this could go, but instead, it goes nowhere. In fact, Mitch confesses this and the cat is let out of the bag early on.

I guess once the story got going, I found myself somewhat intrigued by one small mystery. What happened to young Matty Stone, Spencer's dead brother? How did he die and why is Spencer's mother still having a hard time dealing with his death many years later? I'm not saying that moving on from such an event is an easy thing to do. A tragic loss such as this, probably stays with some people forever. But Spencer's mom just acts so darn peculiar in the book, that something HAS to be up. It's as if she's hiding something from us, and the rest of the family. Do we ever find out about Matt Stone's death? Nope. To lead us to believe that there may be more to the story, only to leave us hanging, is maddening to me, high expectations or not. This coming from an author who has not just a Newbery Honor, but a Caldecott Medal attached to his name.

So my last hope was in the `adventure' department. It was inevitable that these two troubled boys were going to meet, connect with each other, and have one good `ole rip-roaring summer. Wrong. In fact, nearly 70% of the book goes by before their paths even cross. And when they finally do meet, Henkes wants the reader to feel their friendship, but really gives us nothing. The boys play in the lake together. Once. That's all we get.

No ghost story, no mystery, no adventure. Just two boys facing grown-up problems and handling them on their own. Don't get me wrong, Henkes' writing is pretty strong in some of these moments, particularly Mitch's struggle coming to terms with his parents' eminent divorce and his father's infidelity. I think many children will be able to easily connect with Mitch and will have shared many of his same thoughts. The alternating chapter style, bouncing back and forth between each boys' point of view, was unique but since I didn't find Spencer to be all that interesting, his half of the book really disrupted the flow of this story.

In the end, I just couldn't get over my expectations, couldn't get over what this book could have been. I realize that I set those expectations and that if you come in with none, maybe you'll discover a nice little story about the effects of divorce on children. As for me, I hope the next time I read a Kevin Henkes book, that it stars Lilly and her purple, plastic purse.

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