July 30, 2021

Sunny Days

Written by Deborah Kerbel
Illustrated by Miki Sato
Pajama Press
24 pp.
Ages 2-5
June 2021
On the heels of Snow Days (2020) and just before Windy Days (due out in October), Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato take little ones out into the sunshine to enjoy the weather and to rhyme their way through with solar brilliance.
From Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
From rubbing sleep from one's eyes to reading outdoors and planting seeds in the spring, children are escorted by the sun. Then with summer comes outdoor play in flower meadows, in the water and on a beach, and while taking sanctuary under an umbrella.
Prickly sun, burning heat
Cool shade and an icy treat
From Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
As the sun gets lower in the sky, the crickets come out and the shadows grow long, and finally sleep comes for both child and our brightest star.
Evening sun, cricket song
Shadows stretching tall and long
From Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato

The rhymes may seem simple but there is a richness in Deborah Kerbel's take on what children experience in the sun. What's most important is what they feel, what they see, what they notice, and how it affects them. After all, Sunny Days is a book for our youngest children, connecting with them and their realities. There are the sensations of the blazing sun freckling the skin and the drying of mud. There is sunshine everywhere and anywhere, including an urban setting, a backyard, a beach or a park and Sunny Days shines on the lives of children's routines, joys and play. 
From Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
I've always loved textured illustration and Miki Sato's paper collages are becoming a favourite, doing more than just following Deborah Kerbel's words. The artwork gives us crumbly soil in which seeds are dropped, cooling water lapping onto sandy shores, and angry clouds having left puddles for mud pies. The quality of Miki Sato's artwork infuses Sunny Days with more than just warmth and light; it also gives a sense of place and pursuit.

My recommendation for enjoying Sunny Days? Get yourself and your young charge on a blanket on the grass or the sand, or on a bench in a park or in yard. Let the child hold the book which is in Pajama Press's Toddler Tough hardcover format (padded cover, rounded corners and thick paper) and read it aloud, asking questions and even doing the fun and easy science experiments on the final page of the book. Then read it again on a rainy day to remember what sunny days are like.  I suspect your child will start learning the rhymes and reading along with you soon enough and you might even encourage a new curiosity with weather or the solar system. Who knows what Sunny Days may bring?

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