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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Summer Supper, written by Rubin Pfeffer and illustrated by Mike Austin. Random House, 2018. $23.99 ages 2 and up

"Sprout ...
shoot ...


Snip, snip, snip.

Sample. Sell."

When I picked up this week's vegetables at the farmer's market on Friday I was taken aback to think there are only two more chances to get the fresh food I so crave throughout the summer months. Nothing tastes quite as good as fresh vegetables week after week; nothing we buy in the fall and winter can match the tastes of summer. So, I was very happy to see this new book about the farm-to-table growing season.

I have asked myself previously, (most notably when I read Watch William Walk  by Ann Jonas), how authors settle on creating a text that uses the same consonant to begin each written word. It seems an onerous task. Do they make a list of words that pertain to the subject and go for it? Do they imagine scenes and find the just-right word to describe them?  Do they assign themselves such a task to see where it might go? Summer Sweetness? Summer Scenes? Summer Surprises?

However it was decided, in his debut picture book for our youngest readers Rubin Pfeffer has penned a charming look at growing, harvesting and selling the food that goes from the farm to our table. It begins with soil and seeds, moves forward through every phase of growing, harvesting, selling and finally, preparing food for the family. 

The words are as important as the artwork in helping little ones understand the full cycle of producing the real foods that grace our tables. Using only words that begin with the letter 's', the author cleverly connects one part of the process to the next. Words in large font are placed on banners at the bottom of each spread, encouraging children to quickly pick up the clues that will help them read the text independently. It is such fun to read, and to observe each step along the way.  The graphic digitally collaged double page spreads are filled with bright color, quiet action and many small stories to tell as the book is shared.

You will definitely read it more than once!

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