cover image Summer Is for Cousins

Summer Is for Cousins

Rajani LaRocca, illus. by Abhi Alwar. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5733-4

During summer, a South Asian–cued family fills a house “that’s not any of ours,/ near the ocean/ and a lake” with three generations and seven cousins: “All of us are together.” Second-youngest cousin Ravi narrates, describing the family’s seasonal activities and observing that the oldest cousin, Dhruv, has developed a deeper voice. Ravi shyly wonders if Dhruv remembers that they share the same favorite ice cream flavor. Expressive lines by Alwar (Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates) offer sketchbook energy in saturated jewel-tone hues to spreads bursting with activity as cousins pile out of cars, descend upon a local ice cream stand, range across the beach, and more. After jumping off a formerly intimidating rope swing, Ravi realizes that Dhruv may have matured, but “now I’m bigger, too.” Gleefully reprising the line “summer is for cousins,” LaRocca (I’ll Go and Come Back) builds to a cousin-made dinner that gives Ravi the opportunity to reveal the favorite ice cream flavor, catalyzing a moment of connection: “Our favorite!” Dhruv says. Conveying the warmth and coziness of a bustling family vacation, the creators highlight the way families can supply companionship, support, and benchmarks for growth. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. Illustrator’s agent: Alexandra Levick, Writers House. (May)