The annual summer vacation reveals familiar patterns and the joy of continuity and tradition.
A girl sets off for her annual summer trip with her family. They travel a familiar route, and she sees the same old sights. However, rather than sounding bored or sullen, the narrator embraces the return to roads less traveled though highly recognizable. Once at the beach, the girl relates the happenings, small and large, of the week; the most important thing is that “[n]othing changes. That’s why I like it.” The charm of Larsen’s book is the lack of gimmickry. Simple type against a plain, white background is paired with beautifully straightforward artwork. In his picture-book debut, Stewart captures the sparseness of Larsen’s words and creates images both childlike and sophisticated. His color choices are magnificent as he depicts a bonfire with bright orange flames licking against a black backdrop or in the way he interprets daylight as the narrator sits on her front porch or stands on an early-morning beach. Larsen’s storytelling feels honest, and the book will work just as well for a young person taking those first steps toward independent reading as it will for shared reading with an adult.
Taken as a whole, the book affectionately captures the nostalgic air of vacations past, seashells gathered and summer friends left behind—a great book for the car ride. (Picture book. 3-6)