written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Ages 5 – 8, 40 pages
Realistic Fiction, Seasons
I bet you thought summer was the warmest season with hot sunshine days, but I’ll let you know that winter is actually the warmest season. Think of all you do to keep warm and toasty during the cold months. Winter is the Warmest Season is a delightful book with vibrant colors that show many warm activities during winter. We now drink hot cocoa and soup, instead of cold juice in the summer. In the winter, we light fires and turn on heaters, instead of fans in the summer. We bundle up in coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. Our beds are warm with blankets, perhaps even an electric blanket. Even animals snuggle warm on laps, near the fire, or upon comfortable beds. There’s nothing better than staying warm while reading a great book. In fact, I think books are even better when we’re all snuggled.
by Roald Dahl
Ages 8+, 240 pages
Matilda is a brilliant young girl whose parents think she is a trouble maker and wastes space. Her father is a used car salesman who takes advantage of customers and her mother spends her time playing bingo. Both parents don’t care what Matilda does just as long as she doesn’t get in the way. Her father argues with her when she correctly answers a complex math problem. Matilda explores the library and reads everything in sight. Matilda finally gets recognized when she enters school and meets Miss Honey. Miss Honey notices that Matilda has genius qualities, but it doesn’t let that get to her head. At school, she also encounters The Trunchbull who is the headmistress. The Trunchbull doesn’t enjoy children and gives harsh punishments, such as pulling their pig tails and forcing children to eat an entire cake. This is another Roald Dahl classic children’s story where the young triumph over cruel adults. The movie version is also enjoyable and very close to the book.
She had somehow trained herself by now to block her ears to the ghastly sound of the dreaded box. She kept right on reading, and for some reason this infuriated the father. Perhaps his anger was intensified because he saw her getting pleasure from something that was beyond his reach.
– Roald Dahl (page 38 -39)
When summer occurs, new and fresh senses interweave which creates an environment that happens for a short period. Many of our senses overlap which creates an even more overpowering sensual experience. What’s your favorite sense that captures summer to you?
Sight: We want to remember our summer experiences and vacations, so of course numerous photos are taken as a snapshot ‘vision’ for the day. The days are now longer with more light to enjoy. Bright colors are found in flowers, swimsuits, patio tablecloths, sunsets, and our favorite summer fruits and tropical drinks. People are seen bike riding, swimming, playing volleyball, running through the sprinklers, sunbathing, preparing food on the grill, boating, setting up the tent, or walking through the park.
Sound: The sense of sound during the summer can be heard throughout the day. Do you have your loose change ready when you hear the familiar songs of the ice cream truck? The loud lawn mower can be heard from your neighbor’s yard to the community park. Laughter and screams of delight are heard when playing outside games. The refreshing sound of a water splash when jumping into a pool. At the beach, we hear the boat’s motor in the distance and water hitting upon the shore.
Smell: So often the phrase: “Oh, what’s that smell?” doesn’t bring the best thoughts, since we normally think of awful smells such as garbage or smelly socks. When I walk outside into a perfect summer day and close my eyes certain smells drift and make me smile. I’m lucky that I have no allergies. Walk near a park, garden, or neighbor’s yard and smell the aroma of fresh-cut grass. True this summer smell occurs year round, but most frequently smelled during this season. Continue on your walk or into a campground and smell the charcoal of a barbeque.
Taste: The sense of taste may be the most fun. Many summer foods are only available or at their peak during this time. Go on, let the peach juice dribble down your chin. Bite into sweet corn and get cornels in your teeth. Pop the pits out of cherries. Savor a cold glass of sweet lemonade on a hot summer day. Lick a delicious ice cream cone or popsicle.
Touch: The sense of touch sometimes gets lost behind, but there are certain touches that occur mainly in the summer months. I don’t think many feel the rough feeling of sand between our toes or squishy sand when wet in January. The warm heat on our skin defines those hot summer days. (Just remember to enjoy the heat with a strong sunblock.) Dip into the pool, lake, ocean, or river and cool off in refreshing water. (Remember to be safe with life vests and supervision.)
Enjoy the last month of summer with all your senses!