This is nearly a perfect book for kids. There is a bit of action, drama, and romance, couple this with an engaging family pet, and you have the recipe for good old fashioned fun. This reminds me of what kids books were before Harry Potter, those highly politicized memoirs of slave children or Native Americans, gossipy girls, and vampires. Birdsall has written a book that recalls to mind the joy of youth, and the innocence of a summer vacation with new friendships. There is nothing sinister, nothing lurking, no misplaced moral compasses.
The story starts with a drive to a vacation cottage. The reader is introduced to the quirky character of sisters and their absentminded father. Each sister is very different, but engaging, so various people reading this book could identify with one or more of the sisters. Like all sibling relationship, this book does indeed show arguments, frustrations, and times when people are just not nice. Yet, I think this book mirrors actual human behaviors more realistically in that the sisters end up sticking together, and genuinely love one another.
The summer continues on as the sisters become acquainted with the owners of their cottage, and the caretakers. The sisters learn to look after each other, work together, care for new friends, and sometimes, say they are sorry. The writing style flowed nicely, and while I am not still at an age where I get excited about stories like this, I can see myself reading this to my kids one day, or suggesting they read it.