Air conditioning hasnít been invented yet in the little town of Lumberville, where the sun is being way too generous.
The heat is front-page news in the Lumberville Post. No one needs to tell the citizens what the temperature is, though - they can feel it. Everyone in town
deals with the heat in their own way. The children can have fun in the heat with garden hoses and tin washtubs, but the adults have to work. The Green Door Restaurant changes its menu to complement the heat, and the police officer decides to spend his break in some refreshing bubbles. There is even a citizen in Lumberville doing housework in a bathing suit. Maybe Abigail Blue and her brother Ralphie know what the workers of Lumberville need the most - and itís only three cents for the citizens to buy.
As the week gets hotter, some people improvise new uses for magazines, aprons, kerchiefs, and cold linoleum flooring. Anything to keep cool! But the nights are the worst when there is a heat wave. Fortunately, there is one place in Lumberville providing a little bit of relief from the heat, and on Saturday, this is where most people gather to sleep. There are those who remain behind, though,
sleeping on rooftops, on fire escapes, and in tents. But no matter where the people of Lumberville spend the night, they dream the same - well, except for the cat!
By the look of the morning newspaper the next day, dreams do come true in this town.
Betsy Lewin is known for her illustrations in Dooby, Dooby, Moo and
Click Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. She illustrated Heat Wave with ink and watercolors. The colors in this story reflect the temperature on every page. Fiery reds, oranges and yellows remind readers the heat is ever-present. They surround the mail carrier as he
does his morning rounds. They glow over the man lying in his hammock and over the woman napping beneath her umbrella. Even behind the closed doors of the Green Door Restaurant, the radiating colors can be seen outside the front windows. The cooler places in this story are colored in blue,
showing up in the shadowy spots, water scenes, and nighttime sights.
Lumberville has old cars parked in the streets. The bathtub,
town clock, police uniform, radio, oven, and ice box are all
from times past. Itís nice to see these in places other then
museums. There is also a cat in this story that I found
myself keeping an eye on as I was reading, and one
illustration in particular made me chuckle: Charleyís backyard tent construction.
Eileen Spinelli lives in Pennsylvania with one of my favorite authors, Jerry Spinelli. Her books, which include
Hero Cat and Something to tell the Grandcows, may never have been written if her dad hadnít given her an old typewriter when she was six years old. That is when she decided to be a writer.
Although it doesnít get this hot where I live, Eileen Spinelliís story has me comprehending what the citizens of Lumberville
are going through.