Summer's Lease: Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
What is so rare" as a summer's day?
Here is a summer day (and night) as seen through the senses of a young child, whose bare feet carry her after a butterfly and whose ears lead her to investigate a buzz, whose eyes are surprised and delighted to see a big, fuzzy, yellow and black bumblebee hovering by the pond.
In the halcyon world of Wong Herbert Yee's latest in a youngster's outdoor adventures, Summer Days and Nights (Henry Holt, 2012), a little girl strolls barefoot through a daisy-bedecked meadow, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of a summer morning. She sits beneath a shady tree to sip her lemonade, and then she's ready for a different experience.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO KEEP ME COOL?
KERSPLASH! I JUMP INTO THE POOL!
After a splash in the wading pool, parents beckon the child to another summer delight, a picnic by the playground in the park.
A GOLDEN SUN SINKS IN THE SKY.
ANOTHER SUMMER DAY GONE BY.
But when darkness comes and it's too warm to fall asleep right away, the summer night is still calling her outside. A field mouse rustles below her window, and a hooting barn owl and barrumping bullfrog call her to a concert.
SUMMER NIGHT, MOONLIGHT SKIES,
WINGING, BLINKING FIREFLIES.
And when this happy little girl finally closes her eyes to "dream of summer days and nights," we realize that such a time of childhood is itself a dreamlike experience. Yee's simple rhyming couplets and soft-focus colored pencil illustrations on watercolor papers give this charming little tone poem of a book a dreamlike look and mood of its own, which reminds the adult reader that early childhood, like summer, "hath all to short a date."
"Small in scale but large-hearted in scope. . . Yee uses a free-associative first-person narrative to capture, beautifully, the meandering, quotidian episodes of a child's day outdoors," says The New York Times.
Yee's other books in this seasonal series are Who Likes Rain? and Tracks in the Snow. (read my review here)