Connecting With Place and Time

In Summer in the Land of Anne, six-year-old Elspeth knows that she herself is really Anne of Green Gables and these places they visit on Prince Edward Island feel like they are her real, true home

Summer in the Land of Anne
Elizabeth R Epperly, illustrated by Carolyn M Epperly
Acorn Press
(Ages 5 to 11)

When Mama tells Elspeth they are going on a vacation, she is thrilled and rushes to share the news with her older sister, Willa. But why, the girls wonder, is Mama being so secretive about where they are going?

They know it has something to do with the special book she is going to read to them later that night. When the book turns out to be Anne of Green Gables, it doesn’t take long for Elspeth to deduce that they are going to Prince Edward Island.

anne of green gablesWhen they get to Cavendish, Elspeth is filled with awe as they visit all the places that were so important to Anne and to LM Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. In the core of her six-year-old being, Elspeth knows that she herself is really Anne and these places feel like they are her real, true home. But she is deeply saddened when she discovers that the house where LM Montgomery once lived has been torn down.

As Mama and the girls talk about Montgomery and her writing, Elspeth discovers a new source of inspiration. Now she knows that she isn’t really Anne, she is “Elspeth of Cavendish, the famous writer.”

The Epperly sisters have created a delightful new addition to the body of literature that is inspired by, and pays homage to, Montgomery’s much-loved heroine. Elizabeth Epperly, herself a long-time resident of PEI, renders Elspeth’s enthusiasm and passion, the relationship between the two sisters and the profound effect that this visit has on all three of them with great sensitivity. She is keenly aware of the deep connection that so many visitors to the Island feel to Anne and to Montgomery and she ably depicts that in Elspeth.

Many young readers will relate to Elspeth’s feelings and her belief that somehow this shared experience is still deeply personal and belongs just to her. This is truly part of Montgomery’s gift and her ongoing legacy, and the Epperlys portray it beautifully here.

Carolyn Epperly’s exquisite watercolour illustrations perfectly evoke the magnificent pastoral landscapes of the island and bring to life the sacred LMM sites. Her jewel-toned illustrations are infused with light and evince a sense of reverence.

This heartfelt ode to Anne and LMM will speak to the hearts of countless readers and will undoubtedly serve as a cherished keepsake for many who will find in Elspeth a “kindred spirit.”

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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