Review By Don Sloan
What do a three-legged dog, a slim green and creamy white hummingbird named Sweet Pea, and a twelve-year-old girl have in common? Answer: they’re all central characters in a delightful new children’s book called Trina Bell’s Humming Summer.
When Trina’s famous wildlife photographer father takes her to a tiny British Columbia island after years of pleading on her part about always being left alone, she gets more than she bargained for — but in a pleasant way. She meets Moss, the dog, and an ensemble cast of other animal characters large and small who share a common trait.
They all talk.
Or, at least, they talk to Trina, and that’s a good thing, as it propels her into an unlikely adventure brimming with imagination and a good deal of inventiveness on the part of the author.
When Sweet Pea falsely accuses Trina of bird-napping — she’s been seen around the island carrying a clear bottle with a tiny hummingbird named Arrow in it — Trina explains that the bottle is Arrow’s home, and she and Moss were only giving him an outing.
But the bird-napping threat is real, Sweet Pea explains, as thirty-one hummingbirds have disappeared on the islands over the past few days. Can Trina and Moss help solve the mystery? she asks.
And so Trina and the three-legged pooch fall in with a swarm of hummingbirds searching for the real perpetrators of this insidious plot.
Suspicion falls immediately on Professor Charles Finch, whose vast collection of stuffed hummingbirds throw Sweet Pea into a birdy swoon. Trina and her friends start weaving their investigational web around the odd old man.
There are some priceless turns-of-phrase in the book. Among them: “Driftwood is scattered all over the shoreline like the bleached bones of dinosaurs.” And: “Moist air hit my skin, startling like the icy breath of an open freezer.” And my favorite, spoken by the dog: “There are two kinds of people, Treenabelle: the happy and the haunted.”
Is the professor guilty of absconding with all the missing hummingbirds? Will Trina’s father finally stay home and realize what a treasure he has in this bright, bubbly girl? And, what will come of the budding romance between Trina and Kale, a boy she meets on the island?
Download a copy for your preteen daughter and see for yourself!
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