Review Blog

Nov 06 2018

Why I love summer by Michael Wagner

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143783749
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Family life. Summer. Beach. A delightful story of an Australian family sharing their summer holidays will appeal to everyone as they wait for the end of the last term at school before the long break for summer. All the fun of summer is shown in the glorious illustrations: backyard cricket, bbqs, swimming in the local pool, the sprinkler on the back lawn, and sharing the days with the neighbourhood families. Reminiscent of days gone by, the book represents a nostalgic look at when every household had loads of children to play with and no screens to divert their interest and attention. The book promotes a lifestyle full of the outdoors, interacting with others, playing in the backyard and street, until the family moves to the beach for their holiday. The same outdoor fun continues, but here the family widens to include aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, all piled around the groaning, food laden table.
All the way through the emphasis is on family, the adults playing with their children, the group doing things together, reinforcing the place parents hold in their children's lives. Food plays a prominent part in their days, the tables are always covered with food, the bbq plate seems to hold enough for the whole neighbourhood, the shop down the road has an endless supply of ice cream, while people coming to the caravan at the beach walk in with plates of food and an esky.
Adults reading this to their kids or a class will have fond memories of holidays at the beach, and for many a caravan at the beach is still a top holiday, while others now go further afield. This will make a fabulous read aloud, and a great introduction to the idea of holidays and who goes where, and what is taken with them as a matter of priority.
Jellett's wonderful illustrations will bring smiles to the faces of all who read of this family holiday, checking out the detail he includes, rather like a Where's Wally illustration with lots of things to find. His humour lies in the small things that people do, their everyday lives and interactions with others around them. I love the unadorned image of Dad and his son looking at the beach when they arrive at their caravan site. It speaks volumes about the relationship between father and son, and the following page contrasts the same scene as the families descend onto the beach for the day. What a shock.
A joyous celebration of families and holidays together.
Fran Knight

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