From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–Free-verse poems tell the story of a group of children who find each other during one otherwise lonely summer. Seven-year-old Drummer is anticipating a Bummer Summer: Summer's a bummer,/nobody to chase,/nobody to catch the ball/I throw./Hurry up, September!/Get here, fall!/so I can be with/all my friends again. Before long, though, Dorene moves in down the street. Then Louis arrives. The last of the group is Rae, who's sent to stay with Dorene and her family because of her mother's illness. The African-American friends all bond, play, and build and paint an elaborate cardboard town they call Goodsummer. The simple watercolors work well at setting scenes of tidy streets lined with homes and lots of backyards and parks. Gilchrist's talent shows in her use of color, splashed with light, but some of her figures look a bit stiff. The children's voices are printed in different colors, making this title a natural choice for choral reading. For a younger audience than most novels-in-verse, this accessible and well-written book has a nostalgic tone–you don't see a television or computer game anywhere, and the children's play is centered on activities such as dress-up, slides and swings, and playing school.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
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PreS-Gr. 2. For Drum it looks like "summer's a bummer," especially with his baby brother getting all the attention. But then he makes new friends: Dorene moves in to the house down the street; Louis finds a loving foster home nearby ("My new mama really looks at me, / not at all like the other two"); and Rae comes to stay with Dorene, "just until Mama's a little bit stronger." Lively, occasionally rhyming poems celebrate the friendship of kids from different families, as Gilchrist's line-and-watercolor artwork shows the four young African Americans, boisterous and quiet in their neighborhood of homes on a wooded street, as they play, fuss, argue, parade, tell tall tales, act "willy-nilly silly," support each other, and laugh a lot. Fun for reading aloud. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved