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Cover image for Summer
First Imprint edition.
New York : Imprint, 2019.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 27 cm
General Note:
"Originally published by 21st Century Publishing Group in 2015."
Under a burning sun on the dry grassland, animals ranging from a tiny field mouse to a large elephant fight over bit of shade until they learn a better way.


Call Number
JP Cao

On Order



Summer is a poetic, inspirational picture book about the power of kindness from two of China's most acclaimed creators--and children will discover a surprise as they turn the pages!

During a hot summer day in the grasslands, a group of animals race to claim the single spot of shade--under one tiny leaf that clings to a branch. The animals fight until they are inspired by an act of love to offer shade to one another.

Through lyrical text from Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Cao Wenxuan, the story comes alive with bright, delicate art from award-winning illustrator Yu Rong and provides a vivid introduction to animals. In the middle of the book, pages grow shorter and then longer to emphasize each selfless action and to remind children of the importance of sharing and being kind.

An Imprint Book

"An exquisitely calibrated fable, with a lyrically plainspoken voice, a vivid sense of atmosphere, and deftly choreographed moments of high drama and humor." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As in fables of yesteryear, Cao holds a mirror to selfishness as well as to an individual's ability to transcend that tendency. Children will return often to enjoy the interactive opportunities and the harmony that prevails." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Author Notes

Cao Wenxuan is the author of Bronze and Sunflower. She won the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-All the grassland animals, elephant, jackal, rhino, leopard, lynx, bear and mouse are fighting about who can stand under the tree that only has a few leaves. Elephant decides to take the tree for himself. Eventually the friends work together to beat the heat. There is a moral to the story about kindness, but it is told in a subtle, humorous way. Text and illustrations complement each other. For example, one page depicts the elephant under the tree and on the opposite page his animals friends are laughing uproariously, with the lynx giggling so hard he's on his back. They finally see that under the leafless tree, there is no shade. The elephant is sweltering in the sun, just like the rest of them!" Colorful illustrations add to the lighthearted mood of this title. Inside the title there is also a section where the different animals starting with lynx, let another animal, in this case mouse, rest in their shade. The pages overlap each other and are designed so readers can guess the next animal to offer their shadow before opening to the next page. It offers an opportunity for imagination and conversation. VERDICT Highly recommended for public and school libraries. This is a well written, lyrical story with a message about kindness and cooperation.-Robin Sofge, Prince William Public Library System, VA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

It's hot-Rong's (Free as a Cloud) cut paper and pencil pictures show a huge yellow circle hanging low in the sky, and seven animals that live in the parched grasslands are desperate for shade. A tree in the distance promises relief, so the animals race to and fight over it. The elephant hogs the space, then "sucks up dust with his trunk and blows it onto anyone who dares to disagree," writes Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Wenxuan. The animals quickly realize that the gnarled tree's leafless branches offer no shade at all, and the shared sense of absurdity both repairs their friendship and opens them up to a new idea: they spot a boy walking in the shadow of his father and decide to follow suit. In a series of graduated pages, Rong depicts each animal offering its shadow as cooling shade to a smaller comrade (the elephant provides a steady breeze by flapping his ears). Their selflessness is rewarded when a big blue cloud floats over them, creating ample shade for all. It's an exquisitely calibrated fable, with a lyrically plainspoken voice, a vivid sense of atmosphere, and deftly choreographed moments of high drama and humor. Ages 3-6. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

In the spirit of Aesop, the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen winner weaves an animal fable set in the grasslands.Seven creatures are desperate for relief from the sweltering sun. After they argue and vie for a spot under the single tree, the elephant muscles his way underneath. The sight of the giant trying to cool off under several tiny leaves is so hilarious the animals burst into laughter. Their attention is diverted by the sight of a child walking by in his father's shadow. In a brilliant design feature, the next six pages are cut to gradually increase in width, moving from 3 inches to 10 inches, as each creature, starting with the lynx, crosses the gutter to offer shade to smaller beings. Yu cleverly contrasts a lineup of wilting figures rendered in pencil on the verso with smiling, colorful, cut-paper versions on subsequent rectos. Before the page turns, viewers can spot a silhouetted portion of the next animal's shadow, setting up a guessing game. Ultimately, a natural solution offers coolness for all. Touches of internal rhyme, alliteration, foreshadowing, and descriptive specificity elevate the telling: "Hens doze in the dusty shade of haystacks, and the melon farmer fans himself, under a canopy." As in fables of yesteryear, Cao holds a mirror to selfishness as well as to an individual's ability to transcend that tendency.Children will return often to enjoy the interactive opportunities and the harmony that prevails. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The opening scene shows how small animals are protected from a glaring summer sun: ducks snooze under a bridge, sparrows find cover in a tree, and a leaf shields a frog. Other animals a blue elephant, lavender rhino, brown bear, yellow leopard, red jackal, orange lynx, and purple mouse are unable to find any respite in the hot, dusty land. Bad moods prevail due to the relentless heat, and the animals squabble until the group observes a father and son walking together and notices how the man's shadow shelters his child. Acting with kindness, each of them decides to help out one of their smaller companions. Their generosity is aided by Mother Nature as she lends a hand in bringing relief to them all. Illustrations in cut paper and pencil reveal the blazing sun and the animals' discomfort. Pages graduated in size show how animals from small to large assist in sheltering one another from the glare. Children will enjoy finding the animals mentioned on the first double-page spread and will appreciate the unselfishness of their considerate acts.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist