Sunny Makes a Splash by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Sunny Makes a Splash by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm. Scholastic Press, 2021. 9781338233186

Format: Uncorrected proof, graphic novel

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book?  The summer after 7th grade is shaping up to be a pretty boring one for Sunny Lewin; most of her friends are away, it’s awfully hot, and her mom wants her to babysit her little brother Teddy.  When a trip to the local pool club leads to a job offer in the snack shack, where she’d be working alongside her cute classmate Tony, Sunny jumps at the chance.  Her mother is less sure about the prospect of Sunny having so much independence, particularly as she will be spending so much time with a boy and hanging out with older kids too, but reluctantly agrees.  Sunny spends her summer serving hot dogs and ice cream, making new friends, and (eventually) conquering her fear of the high dive.  

This is another winning entry in this popular series.  Sunny immerses herself in her summer job with an appealing energy, as she has hilarious interactions with young customers and helps the teenage lifeguards navigate their love lives.  A visit from her beloved Gramps provides a funny romantic subplot as well.  Readers will empathize with Sunny’s disagreements with her mother but might be surprised at the level of independence Sunny enjoys; references to late 1970s pop culture like Starsky & Hutch and The Muppet Show remind us that it was definitely a different time.  The Holms’ trademark graphic novel style includes highly expressive faces and body language, easy to follow panels and the entertaining inclusion of letters and postcards and yearbook pages.  

Anything you did not like about the book?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? Series fans always welcome a new installment, and it’s a good fit for readers of graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, et al.

Who should buy this book? Public, elementary and middle school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Graphic novels

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts

Date of review: September 10, 2021

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