Pinny in Summer

Pinny’s day meanders from one thing to the next as her whims take her on all sorts of small adventures — blueberry picking with friends leads to cloud watching, which inspires blueberry cake baking, which results in a windowsill visit from a seagull.

Pinny in Summer is a summer day in the life of a child without borders. When the story begins, she’s exploring the coastline, looking for a wishing rock (the kind with a “stripe running all the way around it,” for those who are uninformed about these sorts of things). From there, Pinny’s day meanders from one thing to the next as her whims take her on all sorts of small adventures — blueberry picking with friends leads to cloud watching, which inspires blueberry cake baking, which results in a windowsill visit from a seagull.

Schwartz’s story, which is populated entirely by children, is a quiet, lovely exploration of what childhood can be like without the schedules and restrictions imposed by adults. Pinny is completely free to follow her imagination and explore ideas as they occur to her, in a seaside environment that offers all kinds of inspiration.

Although the story is quiet and thoughtful, it’s anything but boring. The text is highly engaging, and children will not only easily relate to Pinny, they’ll also enjoy following along as she explores the parts of her world that adults sometimes take for granted.

Malenfant’s soft, beautiful illustrations will please children and parents alike. Her images perfectly capture the seaside, pastoral feel of the text, adding just the right amount of whimsy.

The book is for children who are beginning to read by themselves, and the publisher has done an excellent job of crafting a book that will appeal to this audience. The story is broken up into sections, which will give children the confidence boost that comes with reading early “chapter books,” and provide parents with a welcome alternative to mass-produced early readers.

The attention to detail throughout, from the beautifully written text and frame-worthy illustrations to the overall high quality of book design, make Pinny in Summer an excellent choice — whether you’re looking for a special gift or a great bedtime story.

Pinny in Summer
by Joanne Schwartz with illustrations by Isabelle Malenfant
Groundwood Books

Written By

Sarah Sawler is a Halifax journalist, book reviewer and author of 100 Things You Don't Know About Nova Scotia.

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