Cindy: Here in Michigan we often have to wait until May for true Spring to arrive, but we are getting an early taste this year and so we’ve put away our winter books and our mittens and are moving on. If we get snow dumped on us in a few weeks, perhaps we’ll reconsider, but for now the crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and even magnolia trees are blooming, making it a perfect time to write about And Then It’s Spring (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter 2012). Late winter’s browns are tolerable because we hold the hope of spring in our palms…until we plant those seeds. But patience is required. Much patience. And a wish for rain, which comes.
and it is still brown,
but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown…
The boy and his dog wait. And wait. And rabbit and turtle and cardinal wait as well among Erin Stead’s unique woodblock printing and pencil illustrations. Anyone who heard or read Erin’s 2011 Caldecott acceptance speech will cheer for another book from her, especially one this fine.
Grownups who love gardening will hold this book close, but young readers will resonate with how LONG it takes for things we want to finally get here! And budding naturalists will love the details in the illustrations, following the animals and seeing what they are up to with each page turn. For some of us, green is here early this Spring, in our yards, and in our libraries. Huzzah!
Lynn: Sometimes it is the quiet books that speak the loudest. Fogliano and Stead have blended prose and picture into a perfect whole and created a book that captures the very essence of spring. Children and gardeners everywhere KNOW that brown that is all around and that brown that MIGHT be green but turns out to be just the brown that is all around. Every word and every sketch radiates the boy’s yearning for a spring that comes on its own time. I loved the slow rhythm of the text and the small charming details of the drawings that reward careful readers. A dog plants a bone and a rabbit hopefully waters the carrots and of course there are sprout-stomping bears that must be warned with signs. I loved Erin Stead’s Caldecott book but her second book is even better. She uses an earthy palette set against large pale skies and my heart was instantly won by the bespectacled boy whose eyes we never see. The boy waits and worries and he and the animals check the seeds every day and spring takes its time. And then it is green all around.
As Cindy says spring has arrived in a rush this year and we have avoided the long brown time that is usual for us. Who knows what next year will bring but I do know that this is a book to cherish and linger over.