When this lighthearted picture book crossed the equator on its journey from Australia in 1987, it turned into something strange and wonderful. What was fun and folksy Down Under is a blooming marvel Up Here, a revelation of what it feels like to have Christmas in summertime.
The text of Summer, just out in paperback, is a jaunty rhyme (”Summer is a’comin’ in/And all the flies are gatherin”’). It tells of a harum-scarum family gathering at the farm on a summer day for a Christmas picnic. Unfamiliar Australian words such as pikelet and saveloy are no problem — the pictures show them to be pancakes and sausages.
These soft, sunny pastel llustrations would be great fun anywhere. They’re filled with homey, humorous vignettes such as Auntie Lil ”locked in the loo,” Mum in a frazzle with the cooking, and dozens of goofily endearing cats, dogs, and livestock joining in the fun. For kids reared on images of snow on pine trees, there’s an extra delight in these sunny pictures of Christmas wreaths made of summer flowers and a turkey feast al fresco. A