cover image Sweet Pea Summer

Sweet Pea Summer

Hazel Mitchell. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1034-7

This picture book by Mitchell follows a white child narrator who spends the summer at their grandparents’ home after their mother’s unspecified illness leads to a hospital stay. Offering the child an outlet that can fill their attention, Grandpa invites them to help in the garden and look after his prized sweet peas. With a goal in mind (“Grandpa said I could enter the sweet peas in the flower show”), the child takes care of the flowers, solving problems through information-gathering and trial-and-error when the buds inexplicably fall. Straightforward prose lends itself well to readalouds (“Grandpa wheeled his vegetables, and I held my sweet peas”); soft graphite illustrations feature a dot-eyed, majority white cast, while bright watercolors emphasize the sweet tone. A gently encouraging narrative that invites readers to seek solace through caretaking. Ages 4–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]