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HEAT WAVE by Eileen Spinelli Kirkus Star


by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-15-216779-0
Publisher: Harcourt

“Sun sizzled. Hair frizzled.” As the Lumberville heat wave descends, day by day its population does its best to adapt, in this sweet evocation of the time before air conditioning. The movie theater closes, Lottie Mims vacuums in her bathing suit, “[the] Pettibone sisters put their perfume and makeup in the icebox.” On the hottest night yet, the community heads to the riverbank with pillows and blankets to seek some relief. Spinelli’s simple, declarative text touches on each character in turn, describing how they cope—children, adults and animals, one by one. Lewin’s signature illustrations form a series of vignettes against white space, extracting gentle humor from each situation. Dusty yellows and browns dominate her washed-out palette, punctuated by the occasional soothing blue of relative cool. Each quickly drawn figure demonstrates mastery of body language, limp limbs and frazzled hair expressing all. The healing rain comes in a town-wide dream, as joyous splashes of blue ink bathe the citizens of Lumberville in a welcome moisture readers will feel as fully as the characters. As lovely an evocation of one community as one could hope to see. (Picture book. 3-8)