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Reviewed by:
  • Sunrise Summer by Matthew Swanson
  • Elizabeth Bush
Swanson, Matthew Sunrise Summer; illus. by Robbi Behr. Imprint, 2021 [48p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9781250080585 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R 5–8 yrs

Summer vacations filled with swimsuits and sandals don’t match the experiences of this narrator and her family, who instead head up to a chilly Alaskan waterway to do some commercial shoreline salmon fishing. This is the summer in which the girl joins the crew, with tasks and responsibilities such as mending nets, repainting an outhouse, toting fresh spring water, and rising at 2:30 in the morning to pull on layers of clothes and gear to set their net in the whipping wind. Hauling heavy wet rope requires group assistance, but in pulling salmon from the net and tossing them into the tote she can now match the adults. Best of all, up here she can “drive them to the buyer, and no one says I shouldn’t or I can’t.” The husband and wife author/ illustrator team base this enticing picture book on their annual family tradition, which began when illustrator Behr’s own family bought land on the Egegik River off Bristol Bay and lived off the grid each salmon season. The cast of family and fellow fishers evince a cheerful, busy-about-their-business camaraderie that recall the relaxed renderings of Matthew Cordell. Illustrated closing notes provide scads of background information on everything from Aleut fishing practices to salmon conservation regulations, methods of salmon fishing, and commercial processing (“In an average summer, our family catches about ten thousand fish—not including the ones we eat!”). It’s a good guess many listeners would love to join them. [End Page 317]



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