here to see the review.
Books that have target audiences of children from 9 to 12 always seem to be a bit formulaic and this one was no exception. There were mystical creatures, baseball games, and gooey, gross smelling things encountered along a journey to save the main character's father. The important things came through: Jennifer T. Rideout's empathy for Taffy, Ethan's love for his father, Thor Wignutt's feelings about being different, and others. But they weren't emphasized enough for my taste. Instead there always seemed to be another odd creature or another game of baseball.
I don't think writing to a formula is bad unless the human element isn't there. In the case of Summerland (and most other tween books I've read) the human element is a kid element. For this reason I gave the book a good rating (four stars) and wrote about the story's influences rather than the story itself.