The Summer of the Pike
A stunning story of summertime and loss from German author Jutta Richter.
Anna, Daniel, and Lucas seem to be living a dream. While their parents take care of a castle, they have the run of the grounds, along with the beautiful countryside that surrounds it. When school lets out, their biggest concern is how to catch the mysterious pike that patrols the dark waters of the moat.
But just as their summer begins, Daniel and Lucas’s mother is taken ill, spending nearly all her time in bed. Anna learns that their mother has cancer, and that Daniel and Lucas have not yet been told. Set adrift on the endless summer days, Anna tries to believe her mother’s promise that it will all be better soon. And as those days gradually shorten and the colors of the fields and flowers change, Daniel becomes convinced that catching the pike will bring luck—that it might even cure his mother. When her condition worsens, these three friends must come together and find courage to face the future.
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Praise and Prizes
“This book’s strength is its pull-no-punches honesty. . . . The little fish described in this book—their beauty, vulnerability and strength—are powerful metaphors for what the two families experience. Ironically, because of its unflinching, nature-inspired approach to illness and death, this book is likely to be a real comfort to readers who have had to cope with those things in their own lives. No one is too young to appreciate the beauty of the truth.”
“Children’s literature is often thought of as a kind of kid sister in the literary world. But when they avoid the simplistic didacticism that so often haunts the genre, books for young readers occasionally discover greatness in the seemingly smallest detail. This is the achievement of The Summer of the Pike.”
“There is a good deal of wisdom in this heartwarming story of loss and the enduring power of friendship. An extraordinary book that stays with the reader long after it is finished.”
“Well-told . . . Sensitive and unflinching in its depiction of children and adults who are dealing with a terminal illness.”