Junior, you are a born storyteller! These teacher-written words ring loud in the mind of book-loving 11-year-old male protagonist Billy as he bolts from school on the last day of class. So the novel Summer’s Idyll begins on Thursday, June 29th, 1944, set in a fictional Ontario lakeside town as seen through the eyes of the child of a soldier father fighting the Nazis somewhere in Europe. This ‘what did you do on your summer vacation’ bildungsroman begins only 23 days after the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, and so each headline, newspaper story, scrap of information might bring the terrible news of the death of someone’s father, brother, husband. Set against this backdrop of distant war, we experience the childhood adventures of an imaginative narrator rendered in the lyrical prose of a master. Don Gutteridge, in addition to being an award-winning poet, is the author of 22 novels including the 12-volume Marc Edwards mystery series. Summer’s Idyll may just be his greatest masterpiece. In the tradition of Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Emily of New Moon, Who Has Seen the Wind, we fortunate readers glory in the experiences of a precocious child pondering the big questions of life and death, the mysteries of sex and gender, while being wonderfully alive in the cusp between childhood and adolescence.
— John B. Lee, Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford in perpetuity and Poet Laureate of Norfolk
County for life