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
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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 EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved