Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: Summer of the Ancient

Book One

Young Adult - Adventure
238 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2023
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Author Biography

Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who believes in and writes about the triumph and humor of the human spirit through overcoming adversity. She grew up smelling cedar berries and cow pens on a large cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure. Her pastimes were singing to chickens, climbing giant petroglyph-etched boulders, hanging on for dear life in the back end of rattly old pickups driven over terracotta roads so washed out they qualified as mini-Grand Canyons, and riding one of the orneriest horses God ever put on this planet. She has rubbed elbows with cowpunchers, intellectuals, southern folk, "outlaws," and all shades of beautiful people her whole life and now writes historical and contemporary adventure novels set in the South, the Southwest, and far beyond.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Summer of the Ancient by Jodi Lea Stewart is the first book in the series Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves. Concho Mountain represents peace and freedom for Silki who enjoys spending her days riding her horse Smiles and embarking on adventures with her best friend Birdie. Together they have engaged in journeys of the imagination where they acted out characters such as the Ancient Ant Man (Wol-la-chee). Silki never believed that he was real until an encounter left her questioning everything and proved that her imagination may be real after all. Now she’s faced with the daunting task of navigating the Ancient World alone and finding a way to send Wol-la-chee back as her best friend doesn’t believe her. As she’s facing increasing familial pressure to take on more responsibility in her life, her brother is back after a long absence, and her grandmother is insisting that she learn more about their family’s traditions.

Gorgeous scenery creates a peaceful backdrop and the perfect playground for Silki’s imagination and adventures to come to life. Jodi Lea Stewart uses Silki’s imagination as a basis to bring Wol-la-chee into reality and serve as a catalyst for her epic adventure. Tension with Birdie is a prominent element within the story as their friendship has hit a few bumps recently. Various characters influence Silki. Her brother Nick is an encouraging element to support her view of the world with silliness in his character that gives wholesomeness to the tone. Her grandmother keeps her grounded in their culture, ensuring that Silki doesn’t forget family traditions, and has an important role in the story that is surprising. The writing has a playfulness to it that is seen in the adorable imagery that Stewart sets up such as Smiles being Sir Smiles when adorned with colorful scarves and using the phrase 'double-dog' often throughout the story. Word choices create an emotional tone by shifting into a subtly darker vein. The style is vivid though subtle such as describing how darkness pulls its blanket over Concho Mountain. Summer of the Ancient is a lovely read with beautiful writing, a stunning location, touches of Navajo culture, adventure, friendship, and a horse named Smiles.