From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—Hopkins presents 48 poems, 12 for each season. Some are by well-known writers like Lillian M. Fisher, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and Joseph Bruchac (with several by Hopkins himself) while others are by less-familiar poets. Most are about changes in weather and landscape, outdoor play, and holidays. For example, Fran Haraway's "The Fourth of July Parade" brings forth images of "Spangled gowns,/Friendly clowns,/Smiling folks,/Papered spokes,/Marching feet,/Endless heat." Some of the more playful verses will lend themselves well to creative writing activities. For instance, April Halprin Wayland's "Budding Scholars" begins, "Welcome, Flowers./Write your name on a name tag./Find a seat./Raise your leaf if you've taken a class here before." Diaz's mixed-media illustrations are distinctive and highly stylized, with effective use of rhythm, pattern, and beautiful glowing colors. They are aesthetically lovely but are a bit lacking in child appeal. Overall, as in most anthologies, the quality of the writing varies a bit, but many of the poems are well written and enjoyable.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
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*Starred Review* There are plenty of children’s poetry collections that celebrate the seasons; John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar (1965) is just one classic example. What makes this one special is the beautiful combination of accessible verse and Diaz’s radiant artwork. The 48 poems, 12 for each season, include familiar contributions from Carl Sandburg and Karla Kuskin as well as specially commissioned works by well-known contemporary poets for children, including Marilyn Singer, J. Patrick Lewis, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Many of the entries personify nature, as in April Halprin Wayland’s whimsical selection that imagines spring flowers showing up for a first day of class: “Let’s go around the room. / Call out your colors.” Others focus on human activities throughout the year and the small, sensory moments that make each season special, from the smell of cold spring air to the cozy crackle of a December fire. In his signature combination of stylized figures and vibrant patterns, Diaz’s remarkable, glowing scenes add depth and meaning to each poem without overwhelming the words. In an image accompanying the anonymous poem “August Heat,” for example, a man rendered in a blurred, fiery silhouette appears to almost melt into the atmosphere. Well suited for use across the curriculum, this handsome title will remind a wide audience of each season’s wonders. Grades 2-5. --Gillian Engberg