cover image Heat Wave

Heat Wave

Eileen Spinelli, , illus. by Betsy Lewin. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216779-0

From the opening lines (“Sun sizzled. Hair frizzled”), Spinelli (Summerhouse Time ) jauntily establishes the theme for this tale of one sweltering week in the town of Lumberville, long before the advent of air conditioners. Beginning on a blistering Monday, the day-by-day chronicle reveals how residents cope. Abigail Blue and her brother Ralphie open a lemonade stand, but two days later “forgot about the lemonade and just sold ice.” Lottie Mims takes four cold showers one day and on the next “wore her bathing suit to clean house.” Caldecott Honor artist Lewin’s (Click, Clack, Moo ) amusing assemblage of brush, ink and watercolor images portray the resourceful ways the townsfolk try to beat the heat. On Saturday night, “everyone—whether in a bed or on a rooftop or on a fire escape or in a tent or near the river—everyone... had the exact same dream.” A spread depicting that dream rounds up playful portraits of the smiling citizens frolicking in the rain. A power outage may be the closest modern readers come to a similar experience, but they (and nostalgic parents) should nonetheless appreciate this good-natured tribute to summer at its hottest. Ages 3-7. (July)