For six months straight, the sun shines in Antarctica, and the ice and oceans are alive with activity.
Latham’s collection of poems introduces young readers to the rituals and transitions experienced by Antarctica’s diverse flora and fauna during its extended, though freezing, summer season. The return of the sun brings with it migratory birds and whales, the shedding of winter coats, and the birth and growth of the next generation. Each spread uses a poem and soft illustration to present a scene of Antarctic summer, which a small text box of factual information explains in more detail. Readers become acquainted with a variety of life both above and below the water, including multiple species of penguins and seals. The gentle illustrations excel at balancing both the frigid iciness and the blossoming hope of spring. Though playfulness abounds, this is not a romanticized portrait of life in the polar south—to survive, alphas must battle for mates, and predators must catch prey. The one misstep is the lack of direct representation of climate change in the poems and illustrations. Considering how dramatic the effects of climate change are on both the landscape and the life of the region, its mere two mentions in text boxes feel insufficient.
A tender, lively, and mostly thoughtful tour through summer on the frozen continent. (glossary, further reading) (Informational picture book/poetry. 7-12)