Syd­ney A. Frankel’s Sum­mer Mix-up

Danielle Joseph

  • Review
By – November 1, 2021

Syd­ney A. Frankel loves to read. Her moth­er insists that she take a sum­mer class in any­thing but read­ing in order to broad­en her hori­zons and gain self-con­fi­dence. Syd­ney’s friend, Mag­gie, loves to dance. Her moth­er insists that she take a sum­mer class in read­ing because she needs the prac­tice. What are two bright, deter­mined, cre­ative ris­ing sixth-graders to do? Switch iden­ti­ties at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter where the sum­mer pro­grams are held, of course. Syd­ney attends Maggie’s read­ing class; Mag­gie attends the dance class in Sydney’s stead. Nat­u­ral­ly, the plan leads to a com­plex com­e­dy of errors involv­ing oth­er kids, teach­ers, and, ulti­mate­ly, parents.

Com­pli­ca­tions include a new sib­ling for Syd­ney, a wise bubbe, a crush, a miss­ing pet tur­tle, and a loom­ing end-of-year pro­gram show­cas­ing the accom­plish­ments of all the chil­dren in the sum­mer pro­gram, with par­ents and even grand­par­ents invit­ed. Syd­ney and Mag­gie learn some impor­tant lessons about devel­op­ing new strengths and also about the val­ues of own­ing up to actions, being hon­est, and accept­ing responsibility.

This amus­ing romp with its twisty plot and its sparkling writ­ing teach­es these lessons with a light touch and a large help­ing of humor. The easy-to-read chap­ter book for­mat is invit­ing. Read­ers will be both enter­tained and enlightened.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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