Review of Summer Song

Summer Song
by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek
Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.
4/20    978-0-06-286613-4    $18.99
Library ed.  978-0-06-286614-1    $19.89

Henkes and Dronzek complete their seasonal quartet (beginning with When Spring Comes, rev. 3/16) with a joyful ode celebrating summer and its myriad natural wonders and seasonal sights and sounds. The rich shades of green and blue that grace the cover are carried throughout, emphasizing Henkes’s ­observation, “If I had to pick one color, / I’d say Summer is green. / Green on green on green. / Summer is a green song.” And this summer song is heard everywhere. “Most of the time, birds are part of the song — in the air, of the sky, and sometimes rain and thunder are, too.” Bugs and bees, air conditioners and sprinklers, fans and lawnmowers — all part of the summer song. And then, when “Summer gets bored / and wants to try something new,” the song changes, signaling the turning of the season and the arrival of fall. Dronzek’s bright acrylic paintings, employing bold black outlines and saturated with luscious greens and blues, reflect both the energy of summer and the gentle rhythm of the text. Small oval-shaped vignettes are interspersed throughout, but it’s the glowing full-bleed spreads that — like the fireflies that sing “to each other / without a sound” — especially shine. Vividly colored animals and flowers feature prominently in the illustrations, adding movement and a rich sense of natural life. Melodic and evocative, this book captures the essence of summer and its unique seasonal song.

From the March/April 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart is a school librarian at the Percy Priest Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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