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Summertime Waltz Hardcover – March 24, 2005

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1-3-From the smell of geraniums to a mother calling a child home at dark, the waltz of a summer evening dances across these pages. Beginning with the poem in its entirety and then breaking down each line onto an illustrated spread, the author and illustrator have blurred the lines between their roles in the creation of this book. The book begins with an image that is explored throughout: "Lovely the lateness/in summertime darkening." The style is reminiscent of Gorey and Dali, but dreamy and softer. These sophisticated illustrations incorporate the text in constantly changing ways. The words tumble and swirl through scenes that will evoke sensory memory in many readers. This is not a book for every child, but in the same way that Mary O'Neill's Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday, 1973) has a perfect audience, so does this gorgeous offering.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. This unusual picture book for older readers calls up the wild freedom and fanciful wanderings of childhood summers. An opening spread features the full text of Payne's poem, beginning with the richly evocative refrain: "Lovely the lateness / in summertime darkening." In slow, waltzing rhythms that echo fading summer dusk, the lines offer more sensory impressions of summer: the scent of freshly watered flowers, the moths and mosquitoes "biting the lampposts," the call of outdoor games. Successive spreads match single, consecutive lines of the poem with fantastical, mixed-media illustrations, which, like the words, are oblique flights of fancy rather than concrete representations. The picture-book format may suggest a young audience, but it will be teen artists and poets who best appreciate the elegant words and surreal scenes, reminiscent of Monty Python's animated collages, of dreamy faces evaporating into a sky of blossoms or whimsical creatures spilling out from a child's lopped-off forehead. Not a necessary purchase, but this intriguing, lovely assemblage of poetry, creative typefaces, and illustration will pull sophisticated students. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374372918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374372910
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,517,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Lovely the lateness

in summertime darkening.

Dinner is over.

The grownups are talking.

Smell of the water

on pots of geraniums.

Lovely the lateness

in summertime dark."

What I remember is how quiet it got once you started counting and everyone had stealthily moved more than the first dozen steps in the direction of their respective hiding places. In between calling out numbers, as you leaned your closed eyes against your arms against the telephone pole, you could smell the light scent of the creosote in the pole and feel the vibration of the wires humming above, the cool grass between your toes below.

"Outside and inside

is lost in the doorways

...forty-nine, ready

or not, here I come!

Moths and mosquitoes

are biting the lampposts.

Outside and inside

is lost at the door."

Back in the late 50s and early 60s, before the Beatles, back when the lightning bugs would appear in giant clouds at dusk, I lived on Sunrise Street, the first home my parents owned. At the time I didn't understand what my granddad Rex meant when he chuckled and said that we lived in "Fertile Valley," but there were that many kids living along that little piece of Plainview with whom to grow up.

Once every summer there was a day and a night when they roped off the street for a neighborhood block party. On other days we'd draw chalk mazes in the street to ride our bikes around. There were a trio of older girls who'd often want to organize us younger kids. Once they spent a week making us rehearse for a show in the garage next store. (I remember having to learn the chorus to "Kissing and A-Hugging With Fred.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Not all children's books are automatically added to library collections simply because they exist. There is a certain kind of vetting that takes place. Librarians with years of experience sit around and discuss whether or not a title should be purchased for one branch, for many branches, or for none at all. A book will not be purchased in bulk, in my experience, for the following reasons: 1. It is badly written. 2. It is badly illustrated. 3. It is too high-end for the kiddie set. In the case of number three, only a single copy will be purchased for an entire library system serving countless civilians. Such is the fate of the lovely "Summertime Waltz". What we have here is a nice little poem and a series of dreamlike images that create a beautiful book when combined. It is not, however, going to interest your five-year-old. If you would like to purchase a picture book for yourself, I can think of none better. Want to get something for your kids? Look elsewhere, m'dears.

The book consists of a single poem. On the first two-page spread we get a glimpse of what is to come. First of all, there is the dedication. As a reviewer, I think a book's dedication is every bit as important as the story that comes afterwards. With the blue horizon below we read this: "To you - N.P. and G.S.". This is where they stand on the issue. You can judge whether or not the sentiment is sincere soon enough. On the opposite page is the poem. Three stanzas, twenty-four lines, and three paragraphs. Read through it once yourself and you see that though it starts out straightforward (aside from the occasional suggestion that you smell "the water on pots of geraniums") it takes a trip to dreamland soon thereafter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ch_everyounce on April 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My 13 month old brings this to me again and again for no logical reason--the illustrations are a two-dimentional multimedia revery that recalls Edward Gorey and your edgiest graphic designer. Hardly the sort of thing, as other reviewers note, that most children are exposed to. Maybe therein lies the attraction--it's so different from everything else we read children.

The poem itself is better read, I feel, on the first page where you can see it in its entirety, than on the leisurely rolling spreads throughout the book. But there's something that captivates me and my child in these pages...the rhythm, the cadenced and luxurious visual assault, the 'Alice in Wonderland meets Monty Python reading Poe and eating Cherry Garcia' feel of it all.

Anyway, it's the only book my toddler will ask to read 8-9 times in a row before willingly moving on to something else. A beautiful book for grownups, a nuanced introduction to poetry for children, and a surreal way to spend half an hour, lost in the details that are found in the doorway.
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Format: Hardcover
Every time I read this book, it dances on in my mind long after I've closed the cover. The poem and pictures delight and surprise as two separate harmonies weaving and jumping playfully around their melody: the enchantment of summertime play at twilight. Artful, whimsical and stunning. Smoothly Eclectic. Give this to a child who leans creative; it will challenge and inspire them in wonder-filled ways.

On a sidenote, I read hundreds of picturebooks each year and this book has inspired me to write my first ever review on Amazon, I say this to give you the idea of how strongly I reccomend this book.
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