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HEATWAVE by Lauren Redniss Kirkus Star


by Lauren Redniss ; illustrated by Lauren Redniss

Pub Date: May 21st, 2024
ISBN: 9780593645949
Publisher: Random House Studio

Extreme weather brings life to a halt.

On a hot, steamy day in an urban environment where it’s “100 degrees, // in the shade,” a young person tries to beat the heat. After brutal temperatures force the cancellation of a basketball game, the unnamed protagonist, an adult caregiver, and their trusty dog go to the beach to get some relief. Not even shade from an umbrella or sunscreen with a high SPF can protect them from the sun’s harsh rays. As the "wind picks up" and "clouds roll in," “one raindrop” turns to a “downpour,” with relief in sight as day turns to night and the strong sun gives way to cool moonlight. Relying on a uniform color palette throughout, the mixed-media illustrations beautifully evoke the oppressive nature of summer in the city. For daytime scenes, Redniss uses a fiery red, while for nighttime scenes, she employs a cool deep blue. Bigger issues of global warming are captured in little details throughout, such as a newspaper headline trumpeting “record heat across globe” and a book on icebergs in the protagonist’s bedroom. Redniss pairs her efficacious art with spare text. Human characters have elongated limbs and torsos, further capturing the sluggish vibe of a summer day. Characters’ skin tones match the colors of the page.

Intense summertime heat never looked this good.

(Picture book. 4-8)