June 08, 2016

Pinny in Summer

by Joanne Schwartz
Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
May 2016

Pinny in Summer is as delicate as a summer breeze and as subtle as sun-bleached driftwood, yet mighty in its four-chaptered summer day adventures.

Joanne Schwartz has eloquently written Pinny in Summer as an early reader, with lengthier texts all the better for exploring Pinny’s motivations and actions.  In Pinny, the first chapter, Pinny makes looking for a wishing rock into an exploration for all the senses, feeling the warmth, enjoying the natural world’s colours and shapes, and listening to the squawking birds.  In Cloud Watching, Pinny is on her way home when she encounters friends Annie and Lou who invite her to go blueberry picking. Before they reach Blueberry Hill, they partake in some imaginative cloud watching, fortunately as the  skies open up and the rains fall just after their berry-picking.

Curling up at home to read a book and dry off, Pinny is visited by a large seagull in the chapter titled The Seagull.  Communicating with her by delicate head movements, the seagull engages the little girl in the most subtle of tête-à-têtes.  Finally, in the culminating chapter Pinny Has a Party, all the wonderful elements of Pinny’s summer day are brought together.  Having made her blueberry cake for her friends and deposited it on the picnic table outside, her seagull returns to indulge in the sweet treat, leaving a little gift as a thank-you. But Pinny sees these circumstances as just a beginning for another ideal summer day.
From Pinny in Summer by Joanne Schwartz, 
illus. by Isabelle Malenfant
Joanne Schwartz, who co-wrote Grandmother Ptarmigan (Inhabit Media, 2013) with Qaunaq Mikkigak, gets the promise of summer spot-on with text that reflects Pinny’s wide-eyed wholesomeness and wonder at everything she experiences. Isabelle Malenfant’s illustrations echo those sentiments exactly.  Isabelle Malenfant, who illustrated the highly-acclaimed Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (by Christine Baldacchino, Groundwood Books, 2014), has a breeziness to her artwork: the colours are gauzy, as if bleached by the sun or seen through a fluttering sheer curtain, and her lines and shapes are as ephemeral as shimmering waves.  Pinny is Summer is a book of summer for every and any summer.

1 comment:

  1. I very much enjoyed PINNY IN SUMMER. Will she have a WINTER also, I wonder. It's the perfect book for a summer's day and dreaming. Great review, Helen! -- Monica K.