Summer with Elisa

Overview

Summer is here, and Elisa has plenty to look forward to. She can help take care of her little brother, Marshall, and she gets to be the oldest child in the family while her older brother, Russell, is at sleepaway camp.

When Russell returns, so does his teasing. Elisa won't let that dampen her spirits, though. She is too excited about the big news--her family is going on vacation in the country. There she finds new ways to prove that she can do ...

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Summer with Elisa

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Overview

Summer is here, and Elisa has plenty to look forward to. She can help take care of her little brother, Marshall, and she gets to be the oldest child in the family while her older brother, Russell, is at sleepaway camp.

When Russell returns, so does his teasing. Elisa won't let that dampen her spirits, though. She is too excited about the big news--her family is going on vacation in the country. There she finds new ways to prove that she can do anything Russell can do--but sometimes the outcome is more than she has bargained for!

Once again, Johanna Hurwitz has used her ability to evoke the true feelings of childhood to bring us warm and funny episodes in the life of spunky heroine Elisa.

During the summer between first and second grades, Elisa struggles to write to her brother Russell at camp and then enjoys a family vacation in the country.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Six chapters of about nineteen pages in length chronicle Elisa's summer just after she finishes second grade. Eleven-year-old Russell goes off to sleepaway camp, and Elisa tries to write him an exciting letter but nothing much is happening. Then the family takes a vacation to a Connecticut house, a change from their New York apartment, where Elisa enjoys the freedom to go outside whenever she wants, to pick flowers, find a frog, and climb a tree, despite the fact that she can't get back down. Hurwitz has sibling squabbles and childhood tensions right. The stories are cozy, everyday, and not too scary--just right for new chapter book readers willing to tackle the lengthy chapters. In a beach adventure, the two children free a seagull from a trash basket by dumping it over and don't pick it up, which may bother budding ecologists. And sharp-eyed readers may wonder why Mom puts suntan lotion on Elisa rather than sunscreen but these are minor quibbles in this entry in what has become a venerable series worth family read-aloud time. 2000, HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 9, $15.95. Reviewer: Susan Hepler—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-As school ends and summer vacation begins, Russell, Elisa's 11-year-old brother, is off to sleep-away camp. Elisa, who will be in second grade in the fall, is thrilled to be the oldest child in the house, much more grown-up than her 20-month-old brother. Though she tries to write to Russell many times, she is unable to find anything exciting to tell him and when she finally does think of some news, she accidentally leaves the letter in her library book. After Russell returns, the family leaves for Connecticut for a vacation and country life provides new adventures for the children. Expressive black-and-white drawings extend the text, and Elisa's handwritten letters are scattered throughout. Children will enjoy this warm, amusing transitional novel.-Wendy S. Carroll, Montclair Cooperative School, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688170950
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Riverside Kids Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Hurwitz is the award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers, including Faraway Summer; Dear Emma; Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better; Class Clown; Fourth-Grade Fuss; and Rip-Roaring Russell, an American Library Association Notable Book. Her work has won many child-chosen state awards. A former school librarian, she frequently visits schools around the country to talk about her books. Mrs. Hurwitz and her husband divide their time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Summer Plans

It was the twenty-fourth of June. Two minutes ago Elisa Michaels had finished the first grade. But even though she was cheering with all the other boys and girls as they rushed happily from the building, she still wished school weren't over. She could hardly wait until September, when second grade would begin. Second grade was much more grown-up than first!

Elisa's mother was waiting outside the school to walk her home. “You have a whole long summer vacation ahead of you,” Mrs. Michaels said. “We'll have to think of some good things to keep you busy.”

“Marshie, I'll be home to play with you every day,” Elisa told her baby brother, whose real name was Marshall. He was being pushed along in his stroller. Marshall was only twenty months old. He still didn't say very much, but he could walk and run and follow Elisa around the house. He could dig in the sandbox at the park and build with blocks at home. Elisa thought it would be lots of fun to help take care of him during the summer.

Marshall banged on his stroller with the bagel he had been chewing. He was busy teething, and he didn't care about school and vacation time.

When they got to their apartment building, Elisa's big brother, Russell, who had his own key nowadays, was already home.

“Just four more days, and I'm off to sleepaway camp,” he announced proudly.

Elisa had watched early in the month as her mother had packed and shipped off a big trunkful of clothing for Russell to wear during the three weeks he would be away from home. There were new T-shirts and new shorts, new socks and new underwear. In every piece of clothingMrs. Michaels had attached a small label that read russell michaels in bright red letters.

Elisa wished she had a trunkful of new clothing with her name on every piece, but she was glad she wasn't going away from New York City to sleepaway camp. She wouldn't like to be separated from her parents and Marshall for so long. But Russell was much bigger. He was eleven years old, so he wanted to go away. At least he said he wanted to go away. Elisa wondered if he really and truly meant it.

Elisa thought it would be strange not to have Russell home for three whole weeks. But in a way it would be fun too. For three weeks she would be the oldest child in the family. For three weeks Russell wouldn't be around to boss and tease her. For three weeks she and Marshall would have their parents to themselves.

“I won't get homesick,” Russell told his parents confidently.

“What's homesick?” Elisa asked.“Homesick means that you miss your home,” Mr. Michaels explained to his daughter.

“Won't you miss your home?” Elisa asked Russell.

“I don't think I'll miss you,” he said. “It will be fun to live in a cabin with a bunch of other boys who are my age. We're going to have big adventures together.”

“You may feel a tiny bit homesick at first,” Mrs. Michaels told Russell. “But it will pass, and then you'll be home again before you know it.”

“Be sure to write to me,” Russell instructed his family on the morning he was leaving for camp.

Mrs. Michaels surprised him by saying, “I already did.”

“Why did you write to Russell when he's still here?” Elisa asked.

“I mailed a letter to the camp. I knew it would be fun for him to get mail as soon as he arrived.”

“What did you say in it?” Russell wanted to know.

“You'll have to wait and read the letter,” said Mrs. Michaels.

“I wish you'd write me a letter,” Elisa said to her mother.

“Someday when you go to camp, I'll send letters to you there,” her mother replied. But Elisa wasn't at all sure it would be worth going away from home for so long just to receive mail of her own.

“You write to me too, Elisa,” Russell requested. “I want lots of letters.”

“Okay, I will,” she promised her brother. She hoped something exciting would happen so she could write about it.

As soon as Mr. Michaels took Russell to the bus terminal, Elisa ran to get a piece of paper and a pencil. She sat down at the kitchen table and began writing. “Dear Russell,” she wrote. “I hope you are having a good time at camp.” She stopped to look at her words. That's silly, she thought. How can Russell be having a good time? He hasn't even gotten on the bus yet. Elisa scrunched up the paper into a ball and threw it in the garbage. She would write a letter to Russell tomorrow.

Supper without Russell wasn't too strange. It was as if he were having a sleepover at a friend's house. But when Russell didn't come home the next day, it felt different.

“I wonder what Russell's doing at camp,” Elisa said to her mother.

“You could write him a letter and ask,” Mrs. Michaels suggested.

Elisa pulled out a sheet of paper. “Dear Russell,” she wrote. “Is camp fun? I've been having fun playing with Annie.” Elisa stopped writing. Russell wouldn't care that she had gone to the playground yesterday. She went to the playground all the time. She wished she had something new and special to write about. She scrunched up the paper into a ball and threw it in the garbage.

That morning Marshall was due for a checkup at the doctor's office. Elisa went along. She was glad the checkup was not for her. Instead she could watch the iguana in the waiting-room terrarium while Marshall had to get a shot. She remembered that once, when she was little, Russell told her that the iguana was going to get out of the terrarium and bite her. She had believed him and gone running to her mother for safety. Of course Russell had just been teasing her. He had always teased her, since she was as little as Marshall was now.

Summer with Elisa. Copyright © by Johanna Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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