A delightfully warm read about a grandfather and grandchild.
Following Snow (2015) and Rain (2017), this is the third in Usher’s series of picture books about these characters, and it more than rises to its predecessors’ achievements. The first-person text opens with the child excited to go on an adventure. Granddad suggests a picnic. They pack provisions, which are displayed in a marvelous, detailed spread sure to provoke readers to pore over it and note items that inform the story as it progresses. The bulk of the story then follows them as they search for the perfect picnic spot, traversing landscapes that emphasize the sun’s heat on this scorching hot day and that become increasingly fantastic in their range and scope. Usher’s expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations are reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s style with a dash of John Burningham’s wit. The influence of both artists is apparent in the climactic, whimsical scenes when, after crossing a desert, grandfather and grandchild enjoy a picnic aboard an opulent pirate ship before heading back home. How much of this adventure is imagined and how much is real within the world of the book doesn’t matter at all in terms of the characters’ enjoyment of each other’s company, nor will it affect readers’ pleasure. Both grandfather and grandchild appear white; grandfather is bald, and grandchild has a mop of curly red hair.
A grand sun story, indeed. (Picture book. 3-8)