Seminole Summer is the eagerly awaited sequel to Judith Richards’s international best-seller Summer Lightning. Redheaded, freckle-faced Terry Calder has returned to the swamps of the Everglades where he lives in a migratory work camp with his mother and younger sister. While his father investigates atrocities in World War II Poland, ten-year-old Terry fills the role of the man of the family. Along the way, Terry becomes the legs for a wounded veteran, the conscience for an angry Indian boy, and the mind for a gentle friend who accidentally brings tragedy to them all.
A novel about triumph in the midst of adversity, Seminole Summer tells the story of a family tested yet emerging all the stronger.
“In this sequel to Summer Lightning, set near the Everglades towards the end of WW II, young Terry Calder, his mother and sister await the return of his serviceman father, who is investigating the liberated concentration camps. This is a time of discovery for the inquisitive redhead, who befriends a smart-alecky half-Indian boy, a brain-damaged, unintentionally violent adolescent and a veteran who lost both his legs in the Pacific theater. Terry yearns to explore the Florida swamps with the disabled Deke, and when his mother forbids him, he turns for help to a gypsy conjurer. Moving among adults, he observes but doesn’t fully understand sexual relationships, latent racism and the terrible reports from Europe. The oversimplified wonderment Richards gives her young hero often reduces his childhood to an innocencent more evocative of nostalgia than wisdom. But she has a strong ability to portray her natural setting and tell a story, although that story often resembles a teenager’s adventure novel.”
“A ten-year-old boy, Terry Calder, who is wildly enthusiastic about everything that grows or moves in the swamps near Lake Okechobee, Florida, becomes friendly with a paraplegic war veteran, Deke, who is cataloging the flora and fauna of the area. Deke’s wisdom and special strengths are rare commodities in the late World War II years, when most men, including Terry’s father, are overseas. Terry and Deke, along with 16-year-old retarded Lamar and outcast Ossie, a half Seminole Indian, make an endearing, however unlikely and combustible, foursome whose adventures camping in the swamps, releasing bats in the movie theater, or attending a revival meeting will captivate readers. An unusual female character, the local “conjure woman,” handles snakes and casts spells paid for by the boys, some of which they humorously regret having activated. Readers may be surprised at the richness of themes emerging from what is, on some levels, a “frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails” episodic adventure story. Friendship, love of nature, prejudice, and death are explored skillfully in this novel.”
School Library Journal, Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston