CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 33 . . . . April 27, 2018
Written by award-winning poet, Robert Heidbreder, Rooster Summer is a series of poems about a brother and a sister's summer holiday at their grandparents' farm. In an afterword entitled "Now", readers learn that the poems are based on Heidbreder's and his sister's childhood experiences on their grandparents' farm. These poems depict a loving and affectionate relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren, and surely their contents include wonderful memories of Heidbreder's childhood summers.
Not your regular song rhymes in children's songs, these rhymes and near rhymes are great for readalouds. The book has broad appeal, and children of all ages will find the poems easy to understand and will most definitely enjoy the rhythmic play on words. As the poems (and the story progresses), readers will become very familiar and fond of Rexter the rooster, Seed-Sack the mule, Tuftin the cat, and Ginger-Tea the dog. The animals' characterization and personalities jump off the pages through the words which will provide lasting imagery for readers. Of course, Madeline Kloepper's rustic illustrations provide the warm summer farm feel we read about and hear in the poems. Mostly shades of browns, yellows and orange, the illustrations complement the farm setting and will better help very young readers understand the stories shared in the poems.
To really get a sense of what it feels like on a farm in the summer, I highly recommend Rooster Summer as a read-aloud. The rhythm and wordplay jump out a lot more when the poems are read out loud. Even the farm chores seem appealing and delightful to do. Highly recommended for children aged 7-10 for independent reading or as a read-to for kindergarteners and grade ones.
Janet Beauchamp, a high school teacher and teacher-librarian and mother of three girls, lives in L'Amable, ON.