When The Fireflies Come

When The Fireflies Come

by Jonathan London, Teri Weidner, Terry Widener
     
 

This delicious depiction of the quintessential summer night opens with screen doors slamming, burgers sizzling on the grill, ice cream dripping, bare feet slapping on blacktop, and boys and girls playing baseball. Shadows lengthen, the first twinkling stars appear, and then . . . the fireflies come! The kids scramble to capture the blinking bugs in jars, only to

Overview

This delicious depiction of the quintessential summer night opens with screen doors slamming, burgers sizzling on the grill, ice cream dripping, bare feet slapping on blacktop, and boys and girls playing baseball. Shadows lengthen, the first twinkling stars appear, and then . . . the fireflies come! The kids scramble to capture the blinking bugs in jars, only to set them free when it's time to go home. Crickets sing them to sleep, and still they play ball . . . in their dreams. Terry Widener's exuberant figures and cool summer-evening palette brilliantly evoke the joy and sensations in Jonathan London's lyrical text.

Illustrated by Terry Widener.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Sun Dance, Water Dance, London's poetry recreated an idyllic summer day. This time, he celebrates the summer evenings of childhood, as a boy enumerates a cluster of images: "The screen doors slam. Slam-bang. Slam-bang. Outside, the smell of summer. The smell of fresh-picked corn, barbecued hot dogs and burgers in the air." Although the narrative unfolds in prose, a poetic flavor remains. From the backyard aromas to the "Brahnk! Brahnk!" of bullfrogs to backs itchy from rolling in the grass, the text appeals to all five senses. Each line evokes season favorites, such as sticky-handed encounters with the ice-cream man and baseball games that stretch into dusk, when "our shadows are long; they run and jump with us." The story winds down with the capture and release of fireflies and a bittersweet bedtime musing: "Summer is almost over. Sometimes it seems like the days come and go like the light of the fireflies." Widener (If the Shoe Fits) enhances the magical ambience with scenes that gradually darken until only the glow of fireflies and moonlight illumines the children's long-limbed bodies. With perpetual smiles, the simply featured children are always in motion, as if they are literally jumping for joy. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The perfect summer evening starts with the slam-bang of the screen door, the smell of barbecued hotdogs, ice cream dripping down chins, and baseball. The sun goes down, shadows lengthen, the fingernail moon hangs low in the sky while the evening star dances beside it, and still the ballgame continues. Finally, the game is "called on accounta' dark." Still, the fun continues. Only now instead of chasing baseballs, the kids chase fireflies, trying to catch them in their jars in order to make lanterns that blink off and on, sending signals to the moon and stars. Then, when mothers call them in for bed, the kids set the fireflies free, and chase baseballs again in their dreams. The language alone in this book ("fingers of night creep across the grass," "they flit like sparks from a bonfire") is rich in sensory details and is enough to paint lively pictures in a young child's mind. Couple this word mastery with vivid full-color illustrations, and you get an amazing chronicle of a full summer evening of fun, and a wonderful choice for a quiet bedtime story. 2003, Dutton Children's Books,
— Pat Trattles
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-After a full afternoon of barbecues and badminton, children ignore the bright skies fading to twilight, playing baseball and clowning with friends until well after dark. The full-color art playfully supports a sense-ridden text-smells of torn grass as children tickle their skin with it, sights of twinkling firefly light as the insects buzz inside clear quart jars, and the sounds of crickets. Widener's full-color illustrations and London's text blend smoothly and lazily like a summer day turning into night, and the language easily switches gears from heart pumping with a beat ("We crouch and stalk and pounce") to reflective and dreamy ("Our jars are lanterns that blink. Off and on. On and off. We're sending signals to the stars and the moon"). This magical summer of fun is a slice of comforting middle-class Americana sure to evoke appreciative smiles.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In image-rich, sometimes impressionistic prose, the prolific London captures sights and sounds of summer afternoons, then celebrates a game of baseball played in the gloaming until called by darkness. Widener composes an idyllic suburban setting of spacious, rolling lawns, across which four young neighbors gambol as the skies gradually darken, and fireflies come out to mingle with the stars. Before going back inside their homes to dream baseball dreams, the children open the jars of fireflies they�ve collected: "They flit like sparks from a bonfire at a marshmallow roast. They dance and flash and bounce in the dark air, then disappear among the stars. Good night, fireflies!" Along with Charlotte Zolotow�s atmospheric Summer Night (1991) or kindred idylls like Julie Brinckloe�s Fireflies! (1985) or Eleanor Schick�s One Summer Night (1977), this evocation of "The tinkle of ice in tall iced-tea glasses. The thong-thong of backyard badminton," will bring back those hazy crazy days for any readers wondering whether winter will ever end. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525454045
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/26/2003
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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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