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The Children's Bookshelf: Summer's Call: A Michigan Day - June 6, 2022


Summer’s Call: A Michigan Day written with lyrical beauty by Amber Lynn Hellewell and illustrated with sweet details wrapped in soft colors by Gretchen Ellen Powers is a gentle picture book about the essence of the movement from Spring into Summer in Michigan. This story takes place on the sandy beaches where the Great Lakes embrace the state.

The whole family including Mom, Dad, sister, brother and the family dog hear the “call” of Michigan’s summer and act upon it. We see the family packing for a day at the beach and stopping at the farmer’s market to fill their picnic basket with luscious fruits and vegetables and a tasty Michigan cherry pie. “You feel it sticky on your fingers: warm cherry pie filling from fruit picked, washed, and baked that day.”

After their picnic the family jumps in the water to play, enjoy the fresh air and watch the gorgeous sunset dip into the water and disappear. But that’s not the end of this glorious outing as Dad gets out his guitar and uses his melodies to celebrate the day. The illustration of the children catching fireflies against the beauty of the night sky is full of magic and just right for storytelling around the campfire. The end papers are decorated with all the symbols of a Michigan summer including light houses, seagulls, sandcastles, lapping water, mushrooms, shells, feathers, sandals and, of course, cherries!

Summer’s Call: A Michigan Day written by Amber Lynn Hellewell and illustrated by Gretchen Ellen Powers is a reaffirming picture book celebrating the beauty of seasonal change and the importance of nature for children 3-7 years of age (Sleeping Bear Press/ imprint of Cherry Lake Publishing Group, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for Summer’s Call: A Michigan Day

In the back material of this book there is a plan as to how to make a summer mobile. Lots of fun---try it with the help of parents and older siblings. Next, take three treasures from your mobile-----a feather, a flower and a beautiful stone and personify each. Put your body in the shape of each of the three treasures and give each treasure a voice. Then let each treasure speak aloud and explain why it loves to live on the beach when summer is calling.

What songs have you sang around a campfire? Think about it. If you cannot remember, what songs do you think would work well around a campfire? Why? Then, ask family members to sing common campfire songs around the dinner table! This will probably work best after dinner so as not to interfere with a hot meal. Have fun!

On your next sunny day go outside and let off some steam by running around the house as if you were a squawking seagull! Flap your wings, dive down deep and swing up to the sky as you look to steal a piece of fruit, an oatmeal cookie or, as in my case once, one of my tennis shoes!