cover image Summer Is Here

Summer Is Here

Renée Watson, illus. by Bea Jackson. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-547-60586-6

A dark-skinned Black protagonist embraces summer via a litany of seasonal activities in this experiential first-person ode. Waking to the sun beaming through a bedroom window, the young narrator describes the orb “waking me up with her light./ Her sunrays tickle me.” As the day progresses, summer reveals its pleasures through summer fruits (“fat mangoes, bursting with juice/ deep-red strawberries that stain my hands”), pool time with friends (“Our bright swimsuits float... like lily pads”), a game of double Dutch, and a community cookout “under trees full of leaves to shade us.” Jackson (The Twelve Hours of Christmas) employs bright light and sunlit hues to capture the ease and lengthy rhythms of an enjoyable summer’s day, while sensate prose from Watson (Maya’s Song) leads beat-by-beat to group play with water balloons and bubbles, a summer song from the ice-cream truck, and, after bedtime, an earnest desire offered from an open window: “I wish summer would stay.” It’s a yearning celebration of a fleeting season that, like “gigantic bubbles that hang on to my wand,” floats “away, gone, gone, gone.” Background characters are portrayed with various body types and skin tones. Ages 3–6. (May)