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Review of Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

pak_goodbye summer hello autumnstar2 Goodbye Summer, 
Hello Autumn
by Kenard Pak; illus. by the author
Preschool    Holt    32 pp.
8/16    978-1-62779-415-2    $17.99    g

“Hello, late summer morning,” says a young girl in a red scarf as she leaves her house on a double-page spread suffused in soft greens. She greets the trees, a variety of animals, flowers, thunder, and leaves and each answers her (“Hello! Now that the cool winds have come, we love how our branches sway in the sun”). The friendly conversation is illustrated with digitally enhanced watercolor and pencil art that captures the changing season as the girl walks through woods and into town. Foxes, chipmunks, and other creatures prepare for the coming chill; townsfolk don sweaters. Pak’s angular people and objects are especially striking against the round shapes and soft, translucent colors of his background hills and trees. The pictures reveal inviting details not mentioned in the text: our young protagonist has brown skin and dark hair, while the townspeople themselves are a nicely diverse group; three creatures — a large spotted dog, a blue jay, and a butterfly — jauntily accompany the girl on her journey, adding a little folkloric flair; and the colorful bouquet of late-blooming asters and phlox the girl acquires in the woods dwindles as she walks through town, while, in her wake, people look pleasantly surprised to find flowers in their hands (or, at the café, in their coffee cups). The story comes full-circle in a final spread of the girl outside her house, now surrounded by trees in reds and oranges, once again greeting the day: “Hello, autumn!” Pak’s well-executed first appearance as both author and illustrator offers a warm welcome to fall.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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