Wild Summer: Life in the Heat

Authored by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss
Illustrated by Cinyee Chiu
Published by Happy Yak

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This is the third instalment that has been taking readers through the seasons as they happen, the other titles in this series are Winter Sleep and Busy Spring. In a year where we have experienced the highest temperature on record in the UK, Wild Summer: Life in the Heat feels a very appropriate title.

Do plants and animals want summer to last forever?’ is the big question posed in this read. It is answered through a story between a grandparent and their grandchild, with stunning illustrations by Cinyee Chiu that immerse you into the setting and through information provided towards the end of the book.

Beginning with a video call between Grandpa and his granddaughter and the excitement over a forthcoming visit to stay, we are quickly whisked to the countryside. We then follow both down a track to share in a discovery, learning about summer as we roam. Each glorious double page spread reveals a host of ‘wild’ joy. From various varieties of butterflies, dragonflies, snails and eventually to Grandpa’s exciting discovery. Through their conversation, the reader learns about the potential dangers of too much heat. Although summer is a time when many things thrive, balance is needed.

This book would work well with young readers. Young readers with a curiosity about summer and the wildlife and flora they may encounter as the season blossoms. It would also support Y1 teachers teaching seasonal changes in science. Young readers will also likely enjoy talking about what they can see in each double page spread. For example, we learn so much about Grandpa from meeting him in his home and looking around one of his rooms. A room filled with insects, books, a viewing window, and globe. A closer look rewards the reader further, the geodes, skull, and microscope on the sideboard and fallen nest on the table. Grandpa observes and so we are encouraged to observe, too.

As we leave our characters playing in the sea, summer is explained through answering the question ‘What is summer?’ We are then presented with numerous interesting facts about how land animals, plants, and ocean life have adapted and are affected to the challenges of increasing heat. I was surprised to find out about the Judean date palm seed to name but one of things I learned through this beautiful text. A text that encourages young people to discover more about nature and the seasons. We now await the arrival of the final season, autumn, curious about the facts it will bring.

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