cover image The Lovely Summer

The Lovely Summer

Marc Simont. Bantam Books for Young Readers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-07716-2

The exemplary illustrator of The Happy Days and the Caldecott-winning A Tree Is Nice here offers a diverting though undistinguished tale. Bunnies Gladys and Jerome and their six offspring are ecstatic upon discovering a garden at the edge of their woods. A man and woman zealously plant it, fence it and try--unsuccessfully--to keep out the munching marauders. In the end the man resorts to blasting the bunnies with his shotgun--also unsuccessfully. The book's humor lies in the rabbit family's constant interpretations of the humans' efforts as positive. For example, when the couple departs the summer cottage angrily shaking fists at the interlopers, Gladys says, ``Look, the nice man is waving at us. Wave back, everybody.'' Rendered in a bland palette, Simont's limpid illustrations are somewhat lacking in characterization--a flaw also mirrored in his text. His harried hares possess a certain charm, however, and readers may be amused by their comical foraging. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)