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A Summery of Summer Stories

By on August 5, 2017

Before classes begin, there’s still time to finish the season of sunshine with stories that favor the lazy heat and relaxation of holiday flavored summer experiences. Taste a sample of these refreshing treats from a treasury of warm weather choices to savor.

by Meribeth C. Shank 

And The Comes Summer

by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim
BooksSummerThis storybook declaration of summer delight is also a celebration of all things familiar before technology intrudes. A suburban setting suits the rhythm of the language, the rituals of remembering, and the sounds and smells of the season: “When every day is like a Saturday,” and you get your bike ready to ride, host a lemonade stand, “play hide-and-seek until darkness wins,” watch the holiday parade and fireworks, eat ice cream, and head to the lake for a camping trip. The brilliant acrylic illustrations sizzle with excitement as a group of multicultural neighborhood children race, and scurry and bounce across the sunny pages with joyful energy. Jubilant figures with waving arms, leaping legs, and smiling faces splash and dash through summer’s gleeful freedoms accompanied by exuberant, lyrical language. A perfectly radiant read! Candlewick Press, $16.99. Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1. (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Library. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)


There Might Be Lobsters

by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Lauren Molk
BooksLobsterEleanor and Sukie are at the beach. “Sukie (is) just a small dog”; scared of big sandy stairs, beach balls that are “big and beachy,” “whooshy,” salty waves that are too wet, and . . . “besides, there might be lobsters”! Eleanor kindly carries Sukie and the stuffed toy monkey, Chunka Munka, down the stairs. But she’s also exasperated, cradling the scared pup in her arms after Sukie sits far away from the beach ball Eleanor tosses her way. Pen and ink, with acrylic and watercolor illustrations begin before the dedication and copyright, and continue with the title page. Throughout the picture book, paintings of the sandy sunshine of a splish-splashing holiday harmoniously sustain the lively language of this warm-hearted tale. When waves pull Chunka Munka out to sea, Sukie barks for the monkey toy to come back, paddles “past a big beachy ball,” and braves the salty waves to save him.
While Sukie’s doggy fears are reflective of many children’s anxieties about new experiences, the humorously tender text matches Sukie’s forlorn expression and droopy body language to create a gently funny summer story. Italics let readers and listeners in on Sukie’s imaginings, and carry the comedy of the repeating line about lobsters! This refreshing account is a delightful treat for vacation sharing. Candlewick Press, $16.99. Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2. (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Library. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)


Blue Sky White Stars

by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
BookBlueSkyThe poetry of this picture book’s powerful words celebrates both America and its flag. The author’s spare verses and repetition capture the pride and strength of the ideals that the United States embodies in its people, landscape and the fabric of its multilayered culture. Award-winning artist Nelson’s stunning images of American icons – Liberty, New York harbor’s revered statue, magnificent snowcapped mountains, remarkably long lines of covered wagons, glorious fireworks, Colorado’s majestic Grand Canyon, Wrigley’s well-known baseball stadium, a soaring Apollo 11 spacecraft, an eagle in flight, the momentous moon landing – invoke the multiple meanings the words convey. This is clearly not a conventional story with typical illustrations; it therefore allows for a dynamic, teachable moment. Naberhaus’ brief, well-chosen phrases are carefully matched to Nelson’s richly
symbolic artistry. Beautiful oil paintings of many-colored faces, highlight gender, ethnicity, age, and racial diversity, with the cover featuring the starry eyes of reflected holiday rocket explosives. Back material includes notes from both author and illustrator, with additional notes available on the author’s website to provide background material about the book for further discussions.
Dial, $17.99. Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3. (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Lemon City. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)


Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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