MMGM (12/18/2017): Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

For MMGM, I am recommending Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

I enjoyed this graphic novel, which combines humor and some sadness in an easy-to-read package! Sunny’s stay with her grandfather at his retirement home is marked by boredom, as she has nothing to do (not even using a smartphone, as the book is set in the 1970s) except accompany her grandfather on errands. Eventually, she befriends a boy named Buzz whose father works at the retirement home, and their efforts to inject some fun into their lives are fun to read about. The book moves quickly and switches between flashbacks and the present day, both marked by dates at the beginning of each chapter. The flashbacks help show Sunny’s family’s struggles as her brother, Dale, befriends questionable people and makes questionable choices (I won’t spoil these; readers will find them out as they proceed through the book). Dale’s issues are handled well and inspired by the authors’ own experiences with a relative. The art in the book, if not stunning, is a pleasant backdrop for the story to take place against. Sunny Side Up is a fun, speedy read that all readers will enjoy!


  1. As someone who spent a lot of time in Florida visiting relatives as a boy, I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds great! The NYTimes just had an article about middle grade graphic novels!

  3. I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds like one I would like. Thanks for the review.

  4. The sequel, Swing It, Sunny, is even better because it has an illustration of a family room that looks almost exactly like my parents' house, circa 1977!

  5. Love to see good graphic novels. Thank you!

  6. This is a new book for me. I love intergenerational stories, the 1970s. You gave away enough to interest me. Thanks. Happy holidays!

  7. My little sister read this book not that long ago, and personally I've always been quite fond of graphic novels. I was thinking about trying it out for a while! Thanks for that tiny nudge I needed to add it to my to-read list!

  8. This one was my daughter's favorite in 2017 (she's a bit of a reluctant reader). Great to see it featured here! Makes me wish for summer :-)


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