Summertime Waltz

Summertime Waltz

by Nina Payne, Gabi Swiatkowska
     
 

A poetic interpretation of the summer evenings of childhood

Lovely the lateness
in summertime darkening.
Dinner is over.
The grownups are talking.

Seizing their moment, the children steal away from the dinner table to play out of doors, until it's too dark to see the ball and their mothers call them home.

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Overview

A poetic interpretation of the summer evenings of childhood

Lovely the lateness
in summertime darkening.
Dinner is over.
The grownups are talking.

Seizing their moment, the children steal away from the dinner table to play out of doors, until it's too dark to see the ball and their mothers call them home.

Finely wrought oil paintings, beguiling and dreamlike in their detail, give a free-spirited interpretation of the poem. Together, words and pictures evoke the lush scents, sounds, and feel of the full lingering days of summer, when outside and inside is lost in the doorways.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Payne's (All the Day Long) evocative three-stanza poem, an ode to childhood's long summer days, launches Swiatkowska's flight of fancy. As she did in My Name Is Yoon, the artist takes readers on an internal journey of the mind of a child, pictured on the book's cover. The poem appears on the first page in its entirety, then introduces a full-bleed spread of a girl lying dreamily on her back: "Lovely the lateness in summertime darkening." A scene of the dinner table follows, from this same girl's perspective, as she looks across at the other children who will appear in the succeeding spreads ("Dinner is over, the grownups are talking"). The pictures grow surreal as several of the children appear on the hoop skirt worn by one of the other young diners; they crawl along a stripe on its hem as if it were a tunnel. Payne draws on all five senses, as she describes the "smell of the water on pots of geraniums" and the magic of doorways in hide-and-seek games. Swiatkowska renders some illustrations in pen and ink, others with thickly layered brushstrokes, yet she unites them through the recurring details of the characters' clothing and activities: a boy in a knight's helmet and a pig-tailed girl kick a red ball off of one spread ("then everyone's running") and a redheaded girl grasps it, balloonlike, in the next ("to look for the ball/ as it rolls into morning"). The lovely turns of phrase and whimsical yet linked images will invite readers back again and again. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-From the smell of geraniums to a mother calling a child home at dark, the waltz of a summer evening dances across these pages. Beginning with the poem in its entirety and then breaking down each line onto an illustrated spread, the author and illustrator have blurred the lines between their roles in the creation of this book. The book begins with an image that is explored throughout: "Lovely the lateness/in summertime darkening." The style is reminiscent of Gorey and Dali, but dreamy and softer. These sophisticated illustrations incorporate the text in constantly changing ways. The words tumble and swirl through scenes that will evoke sensory memory in many readers. This is not a book for every child, but in the same way that Mary O'Neill's Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday, 1973) has a perfect audience, so does this gorgeous offering.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Opening with the full text of her lyrical unrhymed poem that begins, "Lovely the lateness / in summertime darkening," Payne recalls a summer evening where inside and outside merge. The grownups are talking, the scent is of damp geraniums, children are playing hide and seek and, "Moths and mosquitoes are biting the lampposts." Swiatkowska works with color, texture and magic; she lightly sketches the outlines of the child's face lost in the splashes of geranium with dreamlike snatches of memory or story, a jug on the table has a face and there's a pelican in a bowl. Wonderful things happen to the text, too: Multiple fonts in differing colors and weights swagger and sway throughout the pages, often with little decorative elements that echo historiated initials from illuminated manuscripts in extremely modern dress. Dreamily evocative, down to its last "no one is leaving / then everyone's gone." A rich confection, beautifully delivered. (Picture book. 3-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374372910
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
05/03/2005
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.08(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Nina Payne, who lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, is a poet and artist.

Gabi Swiatkowska has illustrated several acclaimed picture books, including My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits, for which she received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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