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THE LONGEST DAY by Wendy Pfeffer


Celebrating the Summer Solstice

by Wendy Pfeffer & illustrated by Linda Bleck

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-525-42237-2
Publisher: Dutton

In this fourth of a series (A New Beginning, 2008, etc.), science, myth and custom merge into a celebratory introduction to the Summer Solstice. As summer approaches, bison shed winter coats, mountain goats move to summer pastures and butterflies emerge from cocoons. Simultaneously, people move outdoors to picnic and play in the growing sunlight. Pfeffer transitions from familiar summer activities into scientific concepts about the earth’s orbital position on or about June 21, which produces the longest day. She segues into myths of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek sun gods and introduces ancient monuments erected to the solstice, such as the Chumash Indian House of the Sun, Stonehenge, New Hampshire’s Mystery Hill and the Plains Indian Bighorn Medicine Wheel. From myths and monuments, the author moves to celebrations: Lithuanian fire wheels, Germanic bonfires, Bohemian flower wreaths, Swedish midsummer poles and Alaskan “Polar Bear” swims, ending with lawn sprinklers and beach sand. Bleck’s sprightly, colorful illustrations offer a visual celebration as they faithfully track the text. A comfortable, multidimensional investigation of the Summer Solstice that transcends time and place. (facts, activities) (Informational picture book. 7-9)