The Summerfolk by Doris Burn is an excellent summer story that is out of print and not too cheap to find unfortunately. Because of my deep love for Doris Burn, I splurged the $11 on this used title and am happy to own it now. But when I bought it, I knew nothing about its contents. There were no reviews that really gave me any idea of what I’d be purchasing so I really took a leap of faith this time (knowing I had a solid foundation with all her other art, plus the story line of Andrew Henry’s Meadow). So here today, is a brief review with pictures (I obviously didn’t try very hard to take good shadow-less photos; but you get the idea). This is a story about friendship and dispelling prejudices and adventure of the best kind.
Willy Potts (who appears to be about 9-12 years old) and his dad dislike the tourists who visit the beach where they live each summer. They are loud and reckless and an all around disruption to the simple, fisherman’s life Willy and his dad have.
“Thick as sand fleas and twice as pesky,” muttered Joe Potts.
“Summerfolk,” grumbled Willy.
But one day, Willy takes his rundown old boat into the swamp and meets a “summerfolk” who has created an exciting pirate ship raft that wants to pull Willy through the swamp to meet other kids with other strange abodes or boats. They commence to pick up other strange, exciting, kind children with exotic names as Twyla Loo and Cork and Fedderly. They eat and climb trees and tell stories and have a grand old time until it is time for the summerfolk to head home.
As you can imagine, Willy has quite changed his mind by now (still needs to convince his dad of this) and ponders carefully at the end of the story:
“I reckon there’s summerfolk and summerfolk.”