cover image The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice

The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Wendy Pfeffer, illus. by Linda Bleck, Dutton, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-42237-2

This team's fourth in a series about the seasons (following We Gather Together, The Shortest Day, and A New Beginning) explains the summer solstice and its importance throughout history, from descriptions of prehistoric observatories like Stonehenge and Mystery Hill in New Hampshire to an overview of ancient European solstice celebrations. An example of a contemporary solstice festival features residents of Nome, Alaska, who "parade, barbeque chicken, and dance in the streets." Bleck's Little Golden Book–style illustrations, with their flat, stylized images of children, plants, and animals, contribute a sense that the world is a friendly, knowable place, as does the assuring text: "Families fill playgrounds and parks. They picnic under an umbrella of green leaves, play baseball, volleyball, or just nap in the warm sunshine." Instructions for creating a sundial and other activities may engage casual readers, but the highly specific subject matter should have the most appeal for those writing school reports. Ages 7–9. (May)