Summersaults

Overview

What do you like about summer?

Mountain hikes?
Picking cherries?
Curve balls?
Ice cream cones?

What do you not like about summer?

...
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Overview

What do you like about summer?

Mountain hikes?
Picking cherries?
Curve balls?
Ice cream cones?

What do you not like about summer?

Blackouts?
Bee swarms?
Thunderstorms?
Ninety degrees?

However you answered, Douglas Florian will convince you that summer is great. His poems and pictures add up to the best vacation imaginable -- and it is one you can have at any time of the year. A companion volume to the highly praised Winter Eyes,Summersaults proves that Douglas Florian is a poet for all seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the playful initial poems What I Love About Summer and What I Hate About Summer to the final contemplation of a future snowy day, Florian's companion volume to Winter Eyes overflows with inventive verses celebrating the delights and discontents of summer. Like chalk drawings on a hot sidewalk, the green and sunny watercolor-and-pencil illustrations capture The Sum of Summer including four fillion flies And five sillion fleas And uncounted numbers Of sweet memories, and concrete poems such as Summersaults and Double Dutch Girls cleverly mirror their subject matter. Florian's child-like paintings show ordinary pleasures, like skateboarding and eating watermelon, as well as more fanciful images of a girl swinging to the stars or being carried away by a giant mosquito. Florian's poems are often simple, rhythmic lists with an ending twist, as in Greenager: Green grass. Green trees. Grasshoppers With green knees ... Summer's green Wall to wall. Occasionally the poet's couplets scramble syntax (As mosquitos buzz your ear, Green cicadas you may hear) or his images strain to fit the rhyme more than the meaning (The dande-lion doesn't roar. It's quiet as a closet door). Over all, however, the poems are rhythmic, imaginative and packed like a cottage trunk with the long beach days and campfire nights of summer. Ages 5-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Florian has charmed adults and children with his poems and paints and this new collection of twenty-eight poems celebrates the joys of summer. It is a sizzling contrast to his award-winning book Winter Eyes. What did summertime mean to most of us as kids? Days of freedom and time to play outside, bare feet, an ocean or pool to swim in and green grass for tumbling and running. Summer, however, is not without its drawbacks—there are flies, fleas, thunderstorms, heat and humidity, but that is not enough to dispel the joy of summertime. The poem "Some Summers" depicts a variety of suns and just as they differ, so do various summers and summer days. One poem that may resonate with kids is appropriately titled "Three Words." "Three words/Most cruel:/Back to school." Never fear, the playful Florian does not end the book on that slightly unhappy note. There are still more poems that celebrate fireflies, campfires and summer nights. A good choice for kids starting to feel the urge to let loose as the days grow longer and warmer.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Using the same format as in Winter Eyes (Greenwillow, 1999), Florian skillfully captures the nature of summer (bees, dandelions, seashores, heat) as well as its action (jump roping, baseball, camping) in 28 short poems. The relatively simple rhyming verses use concrete language that makes the text accessible. The patterns include lots of lists ("What I Love About Summer") and occasional line-shaping (the parallel arcs of "The Swing"), which easily lend themselves to classroom writing extensions and some great reader's theater. The language is simple enough for bridge-book-ready children, but it is also wittily concise; its clever wordplay adds humor and zing that will be appreciated by the older crowd (witness the whole of "A Summery"-"June: We seeded. July: We weeded. August: We eated"). The layout is inviting, with one poem per page, accompanied by rectangles of childlike art framed and drawn in rust-colored pencil, all surrounded by plenty of white space. Florian's naive suns, skateboarders, and tire-swingers are drenched in a palette of chartreuse, blues, oranges, yellows, and greens. These vibrant, watery colors create exuberant backgrounds and add fanciful touches and visual imagery to the poems. Rebecca K. Dotlich's Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems (Boyds Mills, 1998) and Francisco X. Alarc-n's bilingual From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems (Children's Book Press, 1998) cover some of the same aspects of the season in more metaphorical language, but Florian's intriguing art and lighthearted facility with words make this offering a winner.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Florian (Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs, 2001, etc.) keeps rolling along through one successful thematic poetry collection after another, making his work look as effortless and joyful as child's play. In this latest collection, a companion to his Winter Eyes (1999), he explores both the positives and negatives of the summer season in 28 short, rhyming poems that succeed in being both humorous and finely crafted. Each poem distills one aspect of summer life into a small, polished shell full of rich vocabulary, often encapsulating a common experience such as skipping rope, telling ghost stories around a campfire, swimming like an otter, or fending off flies. Florian's poems often include clever wordplay or invented words. ("Summerize" sums up the four months of the season in just four lines; "The Sum of Summer" creates new numerical designations: "four fillion flies and five sillion fleas.") He also includes lots of action themes, as well as sensory experiences that make the reader remember the heat and humidity of summer weather and the warmth of summer sunshine. Florian's characteristic watercolor illustrations accompany each poem, adding additional notes of simple but stylish humor. Teachers will like this collection for use in the early elementary grades, especially during the last weeks of school; parents will like it for reading aloud on long car trips; and kids will like it because the poems are funny, rhyming, and short. This is children's poetry at its best, and Florian's fans will be waiting for the corresponding collections on fall and spring. (Poetry. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060292676
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Florian's books for children include A Pig Is Big, as well as the poetry collections Beast Feast; Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs; In the Swim; and Mammalabilia. Mr. Florian lives with his family in New York City.

Douglas Florian's books for children include A Pig Is Big, as well as the poetry collections Beast Feast; Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs; In the Swim; and Mammalabilia. Mr. Florian lives with his family in New York City.

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