Though it’s been a cold winter here, this book is about a hot, hot week in Lumberville. Eileen Spinelli and Betsy Lewin follows the citizens of the small town as they try to stay cool in the days before air conditioning. Lottie Mims takes four cold showers in one day, the Blue children sell lemonade, and Mr. Blue shaves his beard and comes to dinner in his undershirt. At the end of the week the whole town sleeps outside and they all have the same dream: rain.
Eileen Spinelli has a down-to-earthness and an appreciation for personality that makes the text of this book just good. It highlights a simple life and everyday events as well as individuals. She also uses high language and varied sentence structure. Lewin’s illustrations match the text well. The watercolors are simple and expressive. Much of the book, a Caldecott Honor, is orange and red reflecting the sweltering heat, but it ends in in a page with a lot of white space and blue/green shades. I would want to use this book in my classroom on either a really hot day or on a really cold day. Then we could say, “Oh remember the time when it was so hot?”