Tag: seasons

Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer


Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer (InfoSoup)

The geese are flying south, the squirrels are busy and the crows are the only birds left in the trees. The air smells different and everyone knows that the trees must drop their leaves soon. Then the wind comes and the air fills with yellow leaves. Children run outside and play in the swirling yellow breezes. When the leaves have fallen, the yellow is in piles on the ground, covering everything. Children gather the leaves to press in books to remember the special time just before winter comes with its whiteness.

Stringer shares the drama of autumn in this picture book. She uses phrases like “a symphony of yellow” to capture the wonder of what is happening, mixing senses of sound and color together. When she describes the smell of autumn just before the leaves fall, she uses comparisons that children will understand: “Like wet mud and dry grass with a sprinkle of sugar.” It offers up the richness and deepness of the smell, the intangible dryness that is part of it and the sweetness as well. She skillfully creates autumn on the page with her words.

The illustrations celebrate the diversity of a small neighborhood filled with yellow trees and the children who wait for the falling leaves to start. There is a gorgeous overload of yellow on the pages, bright and cheerful, filled with motion and tumbling breezes and leaves. The pages are just as fresh and vibrant as the season she is depicting.

A joyous book that welcomes autumn with open arms. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall by Anne Sibley O’Brien


Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal (InfoSoup)

The second seasonal book by this author and illustrator duo welcomes autumn. A series of hinged pages open to reveal the magic of this season. Right before each gatefold is opened, there is a magical word that punctuates the book, “Open Sesame” and “Shazam!” As each page opens a moment in fall is revealed from the cloud-filled milkweed to changing leaf colors to pumpkins becoming jack-o-lanterns. It is all a dazzling magical show of seasonal change and joy.

O’Brien captures classic autumn moments in this book that all children will relate to. There are apples, pumpkins, and animals preparing for the approaching winter. School buses arrive, cranberries are harvested, and leaves blanket the ground. It is all captured with a smile and a nod, no fear or worry at the changing seasons here, just a pleasure in the wonder of nature around us.

Gal’s illustrations share that same delight in the transformation of fall. She shows parts of autumn that are not mentioned in the text, making it all the more fun to explore the illustrations. Children will enjoy the many small details in the images as well as opening the pages to reveal the magic inside. This is very intelligently designed.

A delightfully warm and magical look at autumn and the pleasures of the season. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak


Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak (InfoSoup)

A child wearing a flowing red scarf heads out into the woods on a late summer morning. Branches sway in the cool wind. Animals are out and busy looking for food while others are heading south for the winter. Cozy nests and dens are being crafted too. The flowers are catching the last rays of warm summer sun. There are rumbles of thunder and clouds rolling in. Breezes and drizzle and chill enter the air. Leaves are starting to fall too. The child heads out the next day, into autumn.

Pak’s writing is poetic and simple. He allows nature to have a voice in this picture book. The trees talk about the wind, the animals speak to what they are doing to prepare for cold weather, etc. It’s a lovely way to capture the changes through the living things that are experiencing it first hand. The child too is experiencing the changes in temperature, the clouds, the rain and the winds. There is a sense of being immersed in nature and experiencing changing seasons directly as they change from one to another.

Pak’s illustrations truly make this book spectacular. From the flow of the child’s scarf on the page, marking the wind as it blows to the woods itself filled with strong trunks and tall grasses. The tops of the trees shine with the light of late summer and start to change to early autumn as the book progresses, still filled with the same light and air.

This book is a testament to the beauty of changing seasons, the natural aspects of those changes and the vitality of being outside and being part of it. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.


Wonderfall by Michael Hall


Wonderfall by Michael Hall (InfoSoup)

In a series of poems, this picture book celebrates the changing seasons through the experience of a tree. First in the greenness of summer, the acorns start to fall from the oak tree. The yellow school bus arrives and the tree’s leaves start to change. Harvest time arrives, parades march past, and Halloween comes.The leaves start to fall, Thanksgiving comes and children play in the piles of leaves. Wind arrives, taking most of the leaves off the tree and its time to rake. No leaves left, the tree stands bare until snow comes with the new winter season.

Hall celebrates the autumn season with this picture book that encompasses the very beginning signs of autumn all the way through to full winter. The focus on a single tree as the one experiencing the changes works well, particularly with the vivid changes that the tree goes through itself. It is also interesting to see trees as witnessing what humans do just as they watch the activities of the squirrels on the ground and in their branches. The book ends with information on animals seen in the book and how they prepare for winter.

The illustrations are signature Hall with bold shapes done in collage. The leaves are oversized and glorious, full of bold colors and the size of branches. They enliven the page no matter their color, making the winter pages when they are gone all the more cold and barren.

Simple and poetic, this is a great new pick for fall story times and units. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Greenwillow Books.

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (InfoSoup)

So I admit that I waited for spring to actually come to Wisconsin before I reviewed this and that means that even now I am being optimistic that it has finally arrived even though it was in the 30s here overnight. But even if you are almost headed into summer, this is a great book to share in early, mid and late spring. Written at a level just right for toddlers, this book shares the transformation that spring bring us. Bare trees become covered in blossoms and leaves. Snowmen disappear. Puddles appear. Grass turns from brown to green (with flowers). Gardens grow and soon there is green everywhere, breezes, robins and worms.

Henkes’ writing is made to share aloud with small children. His verse doesn’t rhyme but it has a great natural rhythm to it that makes the book almost sing. The joy here is in the exploration of the changing season, one that brings a certain beauty with it, a freshness. Henkes captures the turning of the season, the aspects of early spring all the way through to almost-summer and he does it in a way that shows small children what they can see and experience themselves.

Dronzek’s illustrations are big and bright and simple. She moves from the lighter colors of early spring through to the bold robustness of near summer. The images change too, moving from small images surrounded by white to double-page spreads that run right to the edge of the pages and seem to spill over with the bounty of late spring.

A gorgeous book for the smallest of children, this is a triumphant toddler look at spring. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins Publishers.


When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad (InfoSoup)

Move through the seasons in this book of superb poetry. Each season is captured in small moments. Spring is shown in a bird singing on a branch, a crocus in snow, gray skies, rain, and red rubber boots. It turns to summer with poems that show that transition. Summer then is swimming, grass, fireflies, tomatoes, stars, and blueberries. Fall glides in with promises of sweaters, leaves and pumpkins. A bare time leads to snow in winter, snuggling at the fireside, and again a bird on a branch singing in spring. Each poem here is a gem, a glimpse of a moment in a season that captures it so completely.

I know that there are so many books of seasonal poetry! Yet this is one that is worth buying and having and reading and handing to people. It is a book of poetry that is accessible and simple, yet one that speaks beyond what it is saying, just like blueberries are more than their color and the gray skies of spring speak beyond into pure emotion. It’s a book of poetry that invites you to see the world through Fogliano’s words and you realize you share that same world but could never have said it this way. Incredible.

Morstad’s illustrations are exactly what these poems needed. Her art is simple and yet incredibly beautiful. The colors have real depth to them, the grass is rich in green and yellows, the tomatoes plump with red juiciness, and the water invites readers to dive in too. The children on the pages are diverse in a way that is effortless and inclusive.

One of the best books of poetry I have read in a long time, this one is a seasonal treat too good to miss. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.


Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Tree by Britta Teckentrup (InfoSoup)

The seasons pass as an owl looks out of a hole in a tree in this engaging picture book. Beginning in winter, owl is alone in the cold landscape. When spring comes, the snow melts and buds form on the tree. Baby bears play and climb the tree’s trunk. Leaves and blossoms form and squirrels, birds and fox cubs arrive. With summer, the apples start to form on the tree and the tree spends long warm nights swaying in the breeze. Autumn comes with colder temperatures and the animals start to leave. Apples fall to the ground and the tree’s leaves turn red and fold. Snow comes and winter arrives. Soon everyone is gone, even the owl. But he is peeking out again soon as spring comes once again.

Teckentrup uses simple rhymes to tell the story of one large tree and the ways that it supports the ecosystem around it. The seasons are clearly noted in the rhymes, the changes explained and each one is celebrated for how unique it is. The various animals too change what they are doing as the weather shifts. This is a dynamic book about weather and seasons.

It is the illustrations that make this book so noteworthy. Teckentrup’s cut out designs allow each page turn to show the owl for most of the book but also to add the other animals as they appear in the story. Then as the story reverses and the animals leave, the cut outs play out that way too.

A clever and striking look at one tree, one ecosystem and many seasons. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.