Here we are smack in the middle of summer, with long days and short nights and, for much of the country, a heatwave. I hope your weather is exactly the way you like it and, above all, that you’re getting the reading time I always count on from summer. You may or may not remember me talking about seasonal reading before, but there are certain books I associate with certain seasons– Moominland Midwinter for the coldest depths of winter, The Secret Garden for early spring. Summer isn’t like that for me.
Summer in my childhood world was always a perfect orgy of reading everything: fairy tales and folklore, novels and poetry, plays and picture books. The only thing I didn’t read as a child was, to the best of my recollection, even a single graphic novel or comic book. My loss, I believe, and I’m making up for it now. For the rest, though, it was an incredibly diverse assortment of reading, without paying any attention to what was too young or too old a book for me. I did a lot of my most adventurous reading in the summer, probably since I had time to really dive in and explore without that pesky school getting in the way. I had dreams, and books were my gateway to those dreams.
This list here today is a sort of tribute to that diverse dreaming: in our spotlights we have a very young book (I Use the Potty), a slightly older picture book (How to Catch a Mouse), and a spooky YA novel (The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle). Overall for the month we have a lot of humour and a little scary (Rookskill Castle again). We have folklore (A Squash and a Squeeze) and originality and history. We have poetry (One Little Two Little Three Little Children) and almost poetry (Twelve Kinds of Ice). We have a lot of fun stuff, basically, and I hope you find something in here you enjoy!
How to Catch a Mouse: Clemmie is such a great mouser that she’s never even seen a mouse in her house, until… uh oh! If my daughter is anything to judge by, children will love to watch Clemmie and clamour to warn her that THERE REALLY IS A MOUSE! Come on, Clemmie, find it! Philippa Leathers has a witty, gentle touch in the text, and her muted colours with the glowing Clemmie standing out from the page will capture both parents and children.
I Use the Potty: Come, ye, and join our young protagonist as he shares the joy of accomplishment with you: He has learned to use the potty! The flush of excitement (that was totally intentional) is contagious, and my daughter has been encouraged to seek her own victories after seeing our protagonist’s joy in his. The illustrations are engaging with their bold lines and limited but, again, bold and bright palette. This is a truly bewitching guide to getting on the potty train!
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle: An eerie and mysterious novel about the adventures a group of children experience when they’re sent to Scotland to avoid the London bombings at the outset of WWII. With a dark and Gothic atmosphere, the novel is still lively and sympathetic due to the protagonist, Kat Bateson. In fact, if you don’t fall in love with Kat, you should probably check your vital signs because I just can’t imagine any living being not finding themselves enthralled by her keen intellect, the regular battles between her pragmatism and imagination, and, above all, her loving warmth for her family. Get ready to shiver in delicious fear as you watch these children battle an unknown foe…
Lastly, to answer the burning question: “What is the Changeling reading?” For the past few nights we’ve had a return to an old favourite: The Tea Party in the Woods. Thanks for reading along, as always, and we’ll be back on Thursday with our regular musings!