August 2011

Summer fun feels “just right”

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The little bear family from Karel Hayes’ charming picture book The Winter Visitors returns, but this time the lakeside cabin they visit isn’t a deserted retreat. The summer visitors—a human family of four—have arrived at the first sign of sunny weather. Their presence won’t deter the bear family, however; with a little bit of sneakiness, they still find ways to enjoy themselves.

The bears are quick learners. After watching the family in a sailboat, the bears don lifejackets one night and take a spin around the lake by moonlight. Soon they’re stealing blueberry pie, sneaking a peek at a fireworks display and—in a twist on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”—taking naps in the cabin’s beds.

Like The Winter Visitors, The Summer Visitors is told almost entirely with pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings. Author-illustrator Hayes captures the sleepy sweetness of summer days, which slowly give way to changing leaves when the family must bid farewell to the little cottage. The soft drawings bring a dreamlike quality to the cottage, and the smiling bears and befuddled humans will delight children and parents alike.

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