Summer is a wonderful time to share books with children, whether it's a trip to the library for story time or a family outing to a friendly (air-conditioned) bookstore. You can add to the fun by reading books with a summertime theme, and three new picture books for young readers make that activity a real delight.

Summertime Waltz by Nina Payne, with pictures by Gabi Swiatkowska, captures all the magic that makes childhood summers so special. The first page of the book opens to a poem, which begins: Lovely the lateness in summertime darkening. Dinner is over. The grownups are talking. Smell of the water on pots of geraniums. Lovely the lateness in summertime dark.

The poem evokes those memorable nights when neighbors or friends gather, perhaps for an impromptu dinner, while children play hide-and-seek, running outside, staying up late (and hoping the adults won't notice how late it's getting!). In the subsequent pages, the poem is illustrated, line by line, with Swiatkowska's whimsical, fanciful artwork.

Deborah Hopkinson's newest book for children is Who Was Charles Darwin? She lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where the beach is just an hour away.

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