One Hot Summer Day (it’s that time of year)

h1 August 1st, 2006 by jules


Yes, it’s the unbearably steamy dog days of summer, so here’s a short, random picture book shout-out to cool-‘n-savvy Nina Crews for her One Hot Summer Day (1995). Sit down with your favorite toddler and soak this one in before it gets cool again in appreciation of Ms. Crews and her boundless talents.

Created in her hallmark photo collage style, we spend one blazin’, scorching day with a young African-American girl in her inner-city neighborhood as she tries to wile away a lazy summer afternoon. Crews superimposes cropped shots on her sprawling double-page spreads; her tousled and tumbled images never bore. The text (“It’s summer, and it’s hot. Dogs pant. Hydrants are open. Women carry umbrellas for the shade”) is lean but rhythmic. And, in the end, she cuts the plucky protagonist some slack with some grape popsicles and a refreshing summer storm. A perfect summer time read for your pre-schooler — or just the picture book lover in you.


And while we’re on the subject of the inimitable Ms. Crews, check out her new picture book, Below (2006). Jack loses his action figure, Guy, in a hole in the home’s staircase. Failing to enlist the help of his parents to retrieve the toy, Jack is left to his own devices, as well as wondering what could be happening to Guy down below. With her unstinting and sprawling double page-spread photos and — in this title — her freehand drawings on top of her photographic work, it is both a clever testament to the robust imagination of children and, par for the course with Crews, a respectful tribute to the pressing and meaningful events in a child’s daily life — and even a child’s daily play — that are often dismissed as insignificant in the minds of the grown-ups who surround them. A perfect choice, too, for the toddler you know who is obsessed with adventure/action hero-type figures.

3 comments to “One Hot Summer Day (it’s that time of year)”

  1. Yay! Thanks for the heads-up, Jules, I hadn\’t seen the new book yet.

    While we\’re on the subject of the awesome Nina Crews, may I also suggest \”The Neighborhood Mother Goose\”? In that trademark photo collage style, she depicts multicultural children in urban settings to illustrate traditional Mother Goose rhymes. It highlights the timelessness of these classic rhymes (rhythm and repetition are crucial to early literacy development) while making them seem fresh and accessible to a modern audience. Oh, and IT ROCKS!

  2. That is, hands down, one of my favorite Mama Goose books EVER …. great minds think alike (tee hee).


  3. […] of and sketches from One Hot Summer Day (which, incidentally, I covered at 7-Imp way back here when the blog was just a wee baby); Greenwillow, 1995(Click to enlarge […]

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