Cheers for a Dozen Ears by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

Cheers for a Dozen EarsCindy: What a perfect title for this book. When our farmer’s market finally opens, I will be cheering! Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting (Albert Whitman 2014) is the perfect tonic for we who are weary of winter…children included. In fact, I have to disagree with the final line from the Booklist review that this book is… “best savored in the summertime.” Perhaps that is true under normal circumstances, but after the winter we’ve had here in Michigan I can’t tell you how this book cheered me from the bright colors to the promise of fresh produce available at our Farmer’s Market. With it still snowing on the first day of spring here, tasty berries and yellow sunflowers seem a distant possibility.

On a hot August day a mother takes her children on a drive to a country farm stand and the counting begins… “1 watermelon so smooth and round…2 purple eggplants that weigh two pounds”…etc. The bouncing rhymes and the digital collage art combine to make a joyful addition to early nutrition units and might encourage picky eaters to help select the food the family buys (although the children are working off mom’s list in the book). My list is ready…now I just need spring to sprout!

Lynn:  “Dog Day August and it’s steamy hot.”  Oh – if only!  It’s March 22 and only 17 degrees here as I write this.   I am with Cindy on this enticingly illustrated book.  Don’t wait till summer for this.  Use it to remind winter-weary children that summer and all that fabulous produce will be here eventually.  Pair it with another book on plants to lift spirits just the way we gardeners look at seed catalogs when the snow is falling.

I am crazy about Susan Swan’s bright mouth-watering illustrations.  Her website says that she creates digital cut paper/mixed media illustrations and I love the rich colors and interesting textures of her work.  This steamy August day feels so real from the stripy wasps on the fuzzy peaches to tomatoes so red and delicious looking that I want to bite one.  I think kids will love counting the items of produce and the story opens the door to to a wide range of classroom uses.  And what a lovely reminder that someday the snow WILL melt!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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