Hest deftly deconstructs this scenario through Bruno’s, Julie’s, and Martha’s flashbacks, escalating the intrigue before finally illuminating the identities of the baby and the woman—and why each has appeared. A poignant composite portrait of three children’s—and two loving families’—hope and resilience in the face of loss and uncertainty.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
At first glance, The Summer We Found the Baby (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763660079, ages 10 and up), a short novel about a baby discovered in a basket on the steps of the new children’s library in Belle Beach, Long Island, appears to be a sweet snapshot of life in a small town during World War II. But author Amy Hest packs much into its pages—an intricate plot, deeply imagined characters and relationships and adroitly tackled big issues such as death and unplanned pregnancy—and handles it all with delicacy and care.
—BookPage (starred review)
It’s a simple premise: A baby found alone in a basket. Yet the complicated layering of events makes for a truly engaging and heartwarming story of steadfastness and solidarity. Young readers will be drawn in by the mystery, stay for the characters, and sigh contentedly when the story draws to a close.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Hest balances foreground action against background deftly: The mystery of the baby will be a happy reveal, and the war will continue…Warm family stories laced with some sorrow and great joy.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Hest’s unique narrative approach divides the book into sections that describe the incidents of August 31 and then go back to June 21, sequentially unfolding the summer’s events…This historical tale engagingly presents ordinary life, while acknowledging the toll war can take on a community.
Bruno thinks about his older brother’s enlistment in the military to fight in World War II, and Julie and Martha think about the loss of their mother and Julie her determination to make things happen. The result is a gently told, slightly mysterious historical narrative that gradually lays down clues about who the baby is and what Julie’s doing with her…the piecing together of the strands and the resolution for the baby will satisfy readers looking for an offbeat read that both challenges and reassures.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
In short chapters that emphasize the youth of those involved—Ms. Hest uses capital letters rather than quotation marks to set off speech, making it seem as though the children are shouting—the testimonies of Bruno, Julie and Martha braid together to form a satisfying, bittersweet story of life on the home front.
—The Wall Street Journal