cover image Fireflies for Nathan

Fireflies for Nathan

Shulamith Levey Oppenheim. HarperCollins, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12147-1

A boy is introduced to a familiar rite of summer--and to some family history--during a stay with his grandparents in this low-key picture book. Six-year-old Nathan enjoys hearing his Nana and Poppy tell about his father's childhood. So when he finds out that his father liked to catch fireflies, Nathan insists on giving it a try. Though it's a struggle for him to be patient, Nathan waits for dark and embarks on his adventure with great delight. Oppenheim's ( The Lily Cupboard ) simple story has a cozy tone, mirrored in Ward's warm acrylic portraits of an African American family. Particularly childlike dialogue infuses the proceedings with believable enthusiam. Deep-hued nighttime scenes, lit by the flickering insects, and a glowing sunset demonstrate Ward's skill in depicting variances of natural light and shadow. Families, budding entomologists and anyone who's ever tried to make a firefly lamp will all find something to like here. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)