The Year the Swallows Came Early
by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Grade Level: 4-7
Release Date 2/3/08
Kathyrn Fitzmaurice has captured all the flavors of a successful first novel in The Year the Swallows Came Early. The year the swallows came early is not the only anomaly that occurs during the year you follow Eleanor “Groovy” Robinson in this delightful debut novel by Kathryn Fitzmaurice.
Eleanor Groovy Robinson is an endearing character with a heart as big as sunshine. As the story begins, Groovy is disturbed when her daddy is picked up by Officer Miguel and taken away in the backseat of the police car. Hadn't her mom read the horoscope at breakfast and it said, "Expect the unexpected." Well,she was warned. What is even more troubling to her, is discovering that her mother is the one who had him arrested. She faces a tough challenge of forgiveness when she learns why her daddy is in jail. Most troubling of all is that it is her daddy who has ruined her dreams and plans for the future.
Fitzmaurice offers a descriptive prose so precise you feel painted in her background as a voyeur to her story. Groovy’s language and character is so genuine, kids will find her naturally appealing and easy to relate to. Groovy’s dialogue is further enhanced by the author’s use of simile, metaphor and a humorous wit wise beyond the character’s age.
When you look for a great book to read, The Year the Swallows Came Early has everything you could want. It offers a picturesque setting on the Pacific coast, offbeat characters with memorable personalities, imagery that evokes an awakening of all senses and an interesting story that captures your attention.
I highly recommend this book for read aloud, read alone, literature circle or reader’s workshop groups.