“A brilliantly illustrated and nostalgic depiction of the magic of summer nights.”
As the sun descends in the sky, neighborhood children head outdoors to climb in the trees, play games, and explore the outdoors. Activities like hide and seek throughout the neighborhood, kick the can under the street lights, and leapfrog on the cool grass all bring smiles to children’s faces. Toad hunting, firefly catching, and worm-tunnel finding bring a sense of excitement to the magic of a summer night, when “Screen doors open. Porch lights turn on. The neighborhood waits . . . for dusk explorers.” Leslie’s text guides the reader through a nostalgic summer night, reminiscent of simpler times. While not rhyming, the lovely text flows through Rooney’s brilliant sunset skies. The illustrations fabulously highlight the rare dusk setting in children’s literature with skies of vivid pinks and deep blues, dimly-lit neighborhood scenes, and the silhouettes and shadows of children. Of particular note is the superb portrayal of firefly catching, with black silhouettes and golden fireflies juxtaposed against a breathtaking background of purples, pinks, and blues. The story’s location hints at a lower income neighborhood and includes a diverse group of children, subtly sending the message that fun-filled summer nights and lasting memories are for everyone. The book lacks a developed story, but instead boasts a sentimental reminder of summer nights that will inspire and encourage children to soak up the sunsets and enjoy magic of evening time spent outdoors.
It’s that special time of evening, when the hours and the possibilities seem endless: Light is fading. A buzz of excitement and wonder takes over the neighborhood….What outdoor adventures await? Join a diverse group of suburban kids as they dash and dodge in classic street games like tag and kick-the-can and reconnect with nature’s simple pleasures catching frogs, hunting fireflies, and climbing trees. These explorers play, laugh, and make the most of their own front yards right up until their parents call out that “It’s time to come home!” But when the sun begins to set tomorrow, they’ll be back for more evening excitement!
This ode to the timeless magic of summer evenings spent outside will remind kids of the fun and friends that wait just outside their doors and leave adults smiling with nostalgia for their own dusk explorations.
Lindsay Leslie, author of This Book Is Spineless and Nova the Star Eater, enjoys spending evenings outdoors. She graduated from the University of Texas and has more than fifteen years of writing experience in marketing and public relations. She lives with her husband and two boys in Austin, Texas.