Thimble Summer – Vintage Kidlit Summer Week #1

by | Jun 2, 2023 | Books, Reading, Vintage Kidlit Summer | 12 comments

Recently, I announced that I teamed up with my friend Faith Elizabeth Hough (who blogs HERE) to create a fun reading challenge called Vintage Kidlit Summer. If you missed any of the details on how this challenge works, just go here and you can catch up! Basically, we’re doing 12 categories over 12 weeks, and each week has its own theme. All you have to do is choose a vintage/classic book that fits that weeks theme, read it, and share about it! You can write about it on your blog, or you can post your thoughts on Instagram (or Twitter) as well, by using the hashtag #vintagekidlitsummer. And if you’re in need of recommendations for each week’s theme, check out this blog post!

Our first week’s theme was Summer Vibes, and I decided to read Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright. Her books are absolutely perfect for summer! And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know what a major Enright fan I am. I previously blogged about all of her novels here (I’ve read every single one), and I even discovered what appears to be the beginning of an unfinished third Gone-Away Lake book.

Here’s what I had to say about Thimble Summer on my blog a few years ago:

A Newbery medal winner, this slim book is perhaps the most well-known of Enright’s works. There are delicious moments like when Garnet and her best friend get accidentally locked in the library, and when Garnet goes to the county fair. A fresh breeze of a book! This is also her first novel for children.

The fun of this book (and Enright’s writing in general) is in the delightful details. The book opens during the drought that has come to the Wisconsin farm where Garnet lives with her family, so the moment when the rain finally arrives, “heavy and silver as a waterfall,” is a wonderful one. The section that takes place at the fair reminds me of my own experiences attending a Wisconsin county fair, of entering the “barnlike building” to look at “hundreds of jars of jelly and pickles on the shelves … cut flowers in vases and growing plants in pots … dozens of different kinds of cakes … Each had a little card beside it with the name of the lady who’d made it.” These details are so real to me.

Many trademark Elizabeth Enright motifs appear in Thimble Summer: stories-within-stories (where an older person recounts a tale from their childhood), a big local event that takes place at the book’s climax, a newcomer who joins the family, and all the small joys of childhood.

There isn’t much plot in Thimble Summer. Enright books tend to be light on plot, but her well-written characterizations tend to make up for that. The title of the story comes from the fact that Garnet finds a silver thimble right before the rain that ends the drought, and she realizes by the novel’s conclusion that the thimble must be the reason for her glorious, adventure-filled summer. Like other vintage children’s books, most of the chapters follow their own mini plot in an episodic style that I’m quite fond of.

If you haven’t read this book yet, please give it a try! Read all of Elizabeth Enright’s books! You will love them too. 🙂

Have you started your Vintage Kidlit Summer reading? If so, please leave a comment so we can chat!


  1. Molly

    Yes, I have started and I actuallu chose Thimble Summer to be the book that I read for week one as well!

  2. Marion

    I left a report on Faith Elizabeth’s blog. My summer choice is Kirsten Saves The Day An American Girl A summer story by Janet Shaw . Kirsten and little Peter go searching in the woods for a bee hive. Thinking all of the wonderful things we all will get when Papa has the honey to sell. Mama will make sweets for the family. When they discover a hive they are attacked by a hive of bees. Papa and Lars save them. Kirsten is chastised for only thinking of gifts and sweets and not that she put Peter and herself in danger.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Oh, I enjoyed that book too! Thanks for joining our challenge!

  3. Marilyn

    I left a report on Faith Elizabeth’s blog. My choice was Samantha Saves The Day A Summer Story by Valerie Tripp. Samantha,Her GrandMary[Samantha lives with her] her uncle and aunt The Admiral and twins Agatha and Agnes go to Piney Point for the Summer. Samantha and Agatha and Agnes decide to go by canoe to Goose Lake. Goose Lake is where Samantha’s parents drowned. When they reach Goose Lake ,they hear a cry for help. It seems the Admiral slipped and hit his head.while in the water. Samantha with help from Agnes manages to get the Admiral onto the canoe. He recovers after a while. Samantha is so happy she could save the Admiral.

  4. Julie Aamoth

    “Then There Were Five” captures the essence of summer for me! I read it every year at the beginning of the season. While it’s not my absolute favorite of the Melendy series (I’d put Four-Story Mistake and Spiderweb for Two ahead of it) it has a unique charm. She absolutely nails the sights, sounds, and feel of summer in the book.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      I agree completely, Julie! It’s not my absolute favorite Melendy book but the summer vibes are strong. I’m looking forward to re-reading it this summer 🙂

  5. Rebecca Harris

    I’m planning to read Rosetown Summer this weekend! I also really want to read Thimble Summer.

  6. Ms. Yingling

    I left my copy of Thimble Summer at home (watching my daughter’s house and cat this week), but will have to read it this week.


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