Sun Dance, Water Dance

Overview

In this dreamy ode to summer, a group of friends spends a carefree day enjoying the great outdoors. This book captures the pleasures of plunging into snowmelt water after baking in the sun, walking barefoot, having picnics in the shade of a willow tree, and sleeping out under the stars. With paintings that range from cool, watery green to hot, sunny yellow, Greg Couch beautifully evokes the delicious sensations in the lyrical poem by award-winning author Jonathan London.

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Overview

In this dreamy ode to summer, a group of friends spends a carefree day enjoying the great outdoors. This book captures the pleasures of plunging into snowmelt water after baking in the sun, walking barefoot, having picnics in the shade of a willow tree, and sleeping out under the stars. With paintings that range from cool, watery green to hot, sunny yellow, Greg Couch beautifully evokes the delicious sensations in the lyrical poem by award-winning author Jonathan London.

Author Biography: Jonathan London is the author of numerous children's books, including Red Wolf Country, which was named a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year in 1996. Greg Couch recently illustrated The Cello of Mr. 0, by Jane Cutler, and has many other well-received books to his credit.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The joys of summer, swimming, childhood, watching the shooting stars and endless days are brought alive in this absolutely wonderful book of verse. Bright, fun, lively full-page illustrations surround the poetic words that describe the pleasures of being a child in the summer heat. The children are at a summer cabin in the mountains along a river and one can feel the bliss and timelessness of their days as they play and swim all day long. The fluidity of the illustrations matches the tone of the verse to create a pleasurable reading experience. This is a highly recommended picture book for its playful verse and sensational illustrations. 2001, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Putnam, $15.99. Ages 3 to 10. Reviewer: Melissa A. Caudill
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A poetic evocation of summer fun. London's flowing text takes an energetic group of kids through a hot, sunny day to a cool, starry night. The unnamed children cavort in the current, skip stones, stop for snacks and cold drinks, and then continue to explore their watery, woodsy world. Eventually they come to rest on large rocks "holding/the last heat" as they watch the sky for falling stars. Their world is idyllic, but not without danger. They must be "careful for snakes/and the sharp bite/of rocks/like arrowheads" as they walk through the water. More than just a catalog of activities, London's text captures the children's joy, the beauty of the natural world, and the timeless appeal of simple pleasures. Couch's paintings swirl with energy and feature vivid colors-cool, watery blues, purples, and greens contrasting with bright, sunny yellows and fiery reds. The somewhat stylized artwork occasionally has a surreal look. Skin tones and surroundings take on unusual, sunbathed colors as the children frolic on the shore and splash in the water. Interestingly, this play of light and shadow allows the characters to be more representational than realistic and to stand for any children, anywhere, anytime. Use this as a terrific seasonal selection or as a warm splash of memory when the weather is foul.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Luminous art and a lyrical text capture the joys of an incandescent country summer day from bright morning to dusky evening. London (Froggy Eats Out, p. 414, etc.) rapturously begins, "We play in the sun / like a dance / dally in the brilliance / of heat / radiating / off our shining bodies." His short, singing phrases, some rhyming, some alliterative, completely capture the brief attention span of vacation activities. In the first double-paged spread, Couch (I Know the Moon, p. 50, etc.) expresses the children's heat-induced elation with a huge shimmering sun covering two-thirds of the pages, sending rays spilling down on the exuberant silhouettes of leaping children. The words and art of these masters elevate the ordinary pleasures of summer-swimming, sunbathing, skipping rocks, catching lizards, watching the night sky-to a hymn. Radiant watercolor and pencil illuminate the " . . . feel / the chill ripple / down our spines . . . " with the cool bright green-blue of swirling refreshing water. Bold geometric shapes of swimsuits, solid and translucent, contrast with the natural life of water plants that reach up with flowing, quivering tentacles. Notable is Couch's freedom with color and line focusing on details such as purple-shadowed feet tip-toeing over zigzagged stones " . . . the sharp bite / of rocks / like arrowheads . . . " or a cross-section of young bodies with a drink flowing "ice cold down gullet / Ahhhhhh!" Clever layout particularly shines on the darkening blues of the spread "when the light / fades / and the first star . . . " The word "star," with its typeface set in white mirrors, is a lone, tiny, white, five-pointed star placed in the evening sky. A standout. (Picturebook. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525466826
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 11.75 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan London is the creator of twenty-three books about lovable and enduringly popular Froggy. He is also a poet and a novelist. Jonathan and his wife live in Graton, California.

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