Kevin Henkes is a well known and respected author, but let’s face it-most of his acclaim comes from his wonderful picture books (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, Owen, etc.) But do not overlook his chapter books! They are exquisite. Sensitive and quiet chapter books just right for older elementary school age (maybe 4th-6th grades?)
In this one a girl looks forward to her family’s annual vacation on Sanibel Island. She looks forward to seeing the same people, doing the same things, celebrating her birthday in the same way. But this year (for her 10th birthday) there is a crabby new girl who has been brought along. It upsets the balance, and it upsets Alice. I had a lot of empathy for Alice and could completely understand her desire for the perfect vacation, one that is consistent and special.
Short and lovely.
p.s. some of his other wonderful chapter books: Protecting Marie, Words of Stone, Sun & Spoon.