I read the Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm Sunny series of graphic novels out of order. The good thing for the adult reader is that they should be able to pick the story up regardless of where you start. However, for the aimed audience of ages 10 to 14 (maybe ages 8/9 for the stronger reader as there is some context that might be a bit “much” for the sensitive reader) it probably is best to read them in order. Therefore, first up is Sunny Side Up, book two Swing It, Sunny (officially this review) and finally Sunny Rolls the Dice (which might have been my favorite of the three).
These are very 1970’s themed or more accurately firmly set in the 1970’s. We see Donny Osmond posters, potholders made for every female in Sunny’s life are made for Christmas, The Pet Rock has come onto the scene, trick-or-treating without an adult is a thing, flared jeans are the fashion and then there is the universal issues of going to middle school and growing up, changes and issues at home. We might be living the years of David Cassidy and kittens on posters telling us to “Hang on,” but at the same time, we have all had to deal with at least one of these things ourselves: friends changing interests so you feel alone; pesky-poopy little brothers; and trying to find the place that you fit in, belong and something that you are good at.
This installment of Sunny has her older brother Dale having been sent to a boarding school that deals with troubled teens. Sunny just wants her beloved brother back (the one who was excited she gave him a macrame bracelet; that played with her when she was little), she wants to watch the Brady Bunch as they are the perfect family, she wants her best friend to go as Swamp Thing and not a Nurse for Halloween. But things are changing and sweeping Sunny along with it. Thankfully her grandfather is there to help her. This is a sweet story about old and new friends, families and even Big Al the alligator of book one makes a cameo appearance.