Summer North Coming

Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781554554652.
Gr 1-3–This poetic picture book, set in Canada’s north country, focuses on the seasons of summer and winter with a nod to spring and fall. Bentley’s rhythmic text is very evocative, if occasionally opaque. “Moon sleeping lightly, bright awake nightly birds call, dreams loll/daytime smiles yawing.” The turn of the page describes bears preparing for hibernation and “summer north fading.” Text placement and spacing is a key element in finding and keeping a reading rhythm. Occasionally, this puts the text on a background where its readability is a little more difficult than necessary. The folk art illustrations are integral to the text. Bartram makes the setting a solid character on every page while her human characters are mostly Inuit.
VERDICT This picture book describes northern Canada’s seasons and refreshingly depicts non-stereotypical Inuit characters. If you’ve been thinking about how to honor #WeNeedDiverseBooks, then this one fits the bill.

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