cover image Summertime Waltz

Summertime Waltz

Nina Payne, , illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. . FSG/Foster, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37291-0

Payne's (All the Day Long ) evocative three-stanza poem, an ode to childhood's long summer days, launches Swiatkowska'sflight of fancy. As she did in My Name Is Yoon , the artist takes readers on an internal journey of the mind of a child, pictured on the book's cover. The poem appears on the first page in its entirety, then introduces a full-bleed spread of a girl lying dreamily on her back: "Lovely the lateness in summertime darkening." A scene of the dinner table follows, from this same girl's perspective, as she looks across at the other children who will appear in the succeeding spreads ("Dinner is over, the grownups are talking"). The pictures grow surreal as several of the children appear on the hoop skirt worn by one of the other young diners; they crawl along a stripe on its hem as if it were a tunnel. Payne draws on all five senses, as she describes the "smell of the water on pots of geraniums" and the magic of doorways in hide-and-seek games. Swiatkowska renders some illustrations in pen and ink, others with thickly layered brushstrokes, yet she unites them through the recurring details of the characters' clothing and activities: a boy in a knight's helmet and a pig-tailed girl kick a red ball off of one spread ("then everyone's running") and a redheaded girl grasps it, balloonlike, in the next ("to look for the ball/ as it rolls into morning"). The lovely turns of phrase and whimsical yet linked images will invite readers back again and again. Ages 4-8. (May)