Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot

We have had some very hot days here in Ashland this summer. The Fourth of July was blistering, and during the day I frequently found myself seeking out shade, spraying myself with water, sticking my feet in the river, and drinking cold water. These singularly low tech cooling off methods reminded me of a book that I read and reviewed recently. The book, Heatwave, describes what takes place in a town during a very hot summer week. The story is set in a time when people did not have air conditioning units in the homes and offices. They have to find other ways to get survive the hot days and night.

Here is my review:

Heat Wave
Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Picture Book
Ages 3 to 7
Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-216779-0
Lumberville is in the grip of a heat wave. There are no air conditioners, so everyone in town swelters in the heat. On Monday, the move theatre closes and Abigail and Ralphie Blue set up a lemonade stand. Tuesday is even hotter, and some of the residents in the town resort to taking long cool baths and showers. By the time Thursday rolls around it is so hot that Mr.Blue shaves off his beard, and the Pettibone sisters put their perfume and makeup in their icebox. How much hotter can it get?
In this delightful picture book, Eileen Spinelli perfectly captures what it was like to live in a time when there were no air conditioners, when people had to find all kinds of creative ways to stay cool. She shows her readers how the heat unifies the people in Lumberville; it brings them together as they all try to find some relief from the heat.
Throughout the book, Betsy Lewin’s illustrations beautifully compliment the narrative. In particular, she brings the humorous touches in the story to life.

If you have creative ways to keep cool please tell us about them.

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