Pictures by Kevin Hawkes
There are twelve long months in every year, but we spend only one of them in Maine. As far as I’m concerned, that means that eleven-twelfths of my life are wasted. Alice is too absent-minded to care much where she is, but Minnow agrees. Only July is real for me and Minnow, because July is the month we spend on North Haven Island.
So begins eleven-year-old Allegra Sloane, and true to her form, when her parents are forced to cut their one month in Maine short, she contrives a plan with her sisters to enable them to stay on the island alone instead of returning to steamy old Boston.
At first, everything proceeds according to plan: the girls slip away from their parents (and avoid a visit to stuffy Aunt Edna!), and the promis of freedom beckons brightly. Unfortunately, their plan has a few holes in it. when the girls return to the cottage, they find it emptied of food. Allegra realizes it’s up to her to provide for her impractical sisters. The bookish Alice (age 13) is more interested in reading Nancy Drew stories and declaiming Shakespeare, and Minnow (aka Edith, age 7)is preoccupied with gluing seashells to every canister in the house.
Forced to fend for themselves, the girls learn to live off the land, gathering berries and chanterelles in the woods and mussels from the shore. Allegra learns perhaps the most important lesson: parenting can be very stressful.
In the course of all their other adventures, they discover a “treasure” that binds them closer to their family and to New England’s literary heritage.
Anne Lindbergh was a wonderful writer — The Worry Week is another shining example of her warm heart and masterful skill as a storyteller. It is sure to be loved by girls ages 9 and older.