In the imaginary city of Bustletown, every season brings new adventures.
As she did in series opener Winter (2019), Berner traces a set of recurring characters through seven two-page spreads: an apartment complex where many of the characters live; a farm-lined road leading to town; a train station; a neighborhood that includes a church, a kindergarten, and a cultural center; a downtown marketplace; a shopping mall; and a park. Readers of this title and its two simultaneously publishing companions, Summer and Fall, will see each setting develop with the seasons. The kindergarten, for example, goes from a patch of dirt to a fully functional building. In the outdoor marketplace, a family of storks builds a nest, hatches eggs, and migrates to warmer climes. In addition to these changes, each book features the town uniquely decorated for typical Western European holidays associated with each season (this is a German import). In the spring the cultural center is hung with Easter eggs; in the fall it hosts a pumpkin-carving contest. Each title is brilliantly detailed, and the consistency among them allows readers to imagine stories both within each volume and between them. Bustletown seems to be a mostly white community, and the few characters of color within—such as Santosh from India—dress in ethnic clothing, implying that they are visitors.
The details delight—but not the diversity. (Board book. 3-6)