Mama, Is It Summer Yet?

"Mama, is it summer yet?" a little boy asks his mother as they look out the window at bare tree limbs, a pair of mittens warming on the radiator under the sill. "Not yet, my little one./ But the buds are swelling./ Soon new leaves will unfold."

In a lyrical ode to the sweet anticipation of a new season, the board book version of Nikki McClure's Mama, Is It Summer Yet? will captivate readers young and old. Striking cut-paper artwork balances beautifully with McClure's gentle, almost old-fashioned text. As winter gives way to spring and beyond, the boy and his mother clear the garden space, plant seeds, build a windsock and wait for the fruits of their labor--strawberries, for starters. Nature's changes are at the center of McClure's book. Swallows swoop with fantastically long, intertwined tail feathers. A squirrel builds her nest on a branch with tiny buds. The boy and his mother paddle through a marsh where ducklings "grow big and bold." Eventually, the two enjoy books on a blanket under the now blossoming tree. Throughout, the boy's refrain returns: "Mama, is it summer yet?" Again and again, his patient mother responds with "Not yet, my little one. But..." until, inevitably, the answer turns to a joyful yes.

Nikki McClure (To Market, to Market; In; Waiting for High Tide) captures the loving, playful bond between mother and son. Black-and-white art is accented with splashes of color that grow ever bolder as summer draws near: a lilac windsock, pink blossoms, red strawberries. This thoroughly pleasing board book offers young readers an opportunity to absorb themselves in the simple, hopeful gifts of the seasons. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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