Summer Jackson Grown Up (review)
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Reviewed by
Harris, Teresa E. Summer Jackson Grown Up; illus. by AG Ford. Tegen/HarperCollins, 2011. [32p]. ISBN 978-0-06-185757-7 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R 5-8 yrs.

"Two scoops of ice cream are not enough. Hand puppets are not that funny. And eight o'clock is way too early for bed." That's the complaint of seven-year-old Summer, who's decided that she's going to be a grownup "starting right now." As a self-assessed adult, Summer follows in her mother's footsteps by donning a work wardrobe and charging her classmates for "consultations," much to the teacher's consternation. Her thoughtful parents decide to give their precocious daughter enough rope, so they let Summer handle grownup tasks like clearing the dishes and exclude her from their role-reversal playtimes in the yard, until Summer decides that seven has its advantages after all. The plot gets a little tangled and adult-aimed, but this is mostly a character study of a little girl who's clearly ready to take on the world; the exaggerations don't even seem all that exaggerated, as everybody knows a seven-going-on-twenty-seven kid of Summer's charismatic and demanding style. Though the faces are a little bland in Ford's smooth-lined illustrations featuring an easygoing African-American family, Summer's assured posture tells the story in its own right, and her strut makes her trappings of adulthood—pink high heels, intimidating sunglasses, and a power blazer—become Fancy Nancy-worthy adornments. Young movers and shakers will probably think Summer caved too soon, but they'll understand her predicament and consider making their own grabs for adulthood. [End Page 522]

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