cover image Summer Supper

Summer Supper

Rubin Pfeffer, illus. by Mike Austin. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1464-2

This debut picture book by literary agent Pfeffer offers a vibrant celebration of gardening, nature’s bounty, family, cooperation—and the letter S. The minimal, staccato text consists solely of words beginning with that letter, a conceit the author nimbly executes without sounding forced or monotonous. Children can identify labeled objects in the spry digital collage art by Austin (Fire Engine No. 9) and sound out a creatively alliterative sequence of verbs, adjectives, and noises as they watch a family plant a garden (“Shovel soil. Sow seeds”) and sell their produce at market, where another family purchases it and works together to prepare an alfresco feast (“Sizzle, swirl, swish, sauté!”). Appearing within bands of various colors at the bottom of each spread, the large-font words are as bold and crisp as the pictures, making this a good readaloud choice. Kids (and parents) with a sweet tooth will savor an 11th-hour deviation from the story’s healthy-eating theme, as a father sneakily indulges in a late-night snack: a slice of layer cake. A simple, satisfying—and ultimately sweet—offering. Ages 3–7. [em](May) [/em]