Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Prairie Summer

Prairie Summer

Nancy Hundal
Illustrator:  Brian Deines 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1999   ISBN: 978-1550414035

The city cousins are going to spend the summer on the farm. This is the prairie with fields to explore, cows to watch, the old general store to visit. Here there are all sorts of treasure to enjoy: "dazzling pebbles" so unlike the stones at home in the city; there are relatives who visit; there are the pies that grandma makes using the blueberries that the children picked earlier.

Perhaps best of all is the quiet, the peace, the slow pace of life. The cousins are far away from the "honking compacts" which fill the streets at home. Here the cars are big and slow, throwing up dust behind them as they drive up towards the farm house. At night the air is filled with the sounds of insects and creatures.

Luscious language full of atmosphere and imagery superbly captures the experience these city cousins share as they spend the summer out in the country on a prairie where life is so different from what they are used to. It is another world filled with simple pleasures and adventures. The author has captured a time and a place and put it on the pages of this beautiful book for the reader to enjoy again and again. Brian Deines has created artwork which compliments the rich almost poetic prose perfectly with its rich earthy hues and its snapshot like images of small and special moments of a prairie summer.

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