Thursday, March 21, 2013

and then it's spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead

Yesterday was the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, but it still looks and feels like the middle of winter in Edmonton. I can really identify with the child waiting for the season to change in Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead's picture book, and then it's spring.

The boy (or possibly a tomboy) waits week after week for any sign of green after planting seeds. He (or she) worries that birds might have eaten them, or bears have stomped on them, "because bears can't read signs that say things like 'please do not stomp here -- there are seeds and they are trying'." Stead's soft woodcut and pencil illustrations contain additional quiet humour. One bird, flat on its back, has eaten so many sunflower seeds that it looks ready to burst. A bear sitting in the planted area is using the 'please do not stomp here' sign to scratch its armpit. The pictures will reward close examination: all of the little creatures doing things on every page; the expressive body postures of the dog.

Fogliano's text has a sturdy delicacy. The words are simple and used sparingly, with attention to their poetic magic. It will stand up to repeated read-alouds to young children without growing stale for adults. When "the brown, still brown, has a greenish hum" anticipation continues to build, but it's another four double-page spreads before the green arrives. Ahhh, yes. Green is nowhere to be seen around here, but I like being reminded that it will come... eventually.

My back garden today, taken from the back door.
Can you find the garden bench in the middle?

My back garden in July, also from the back door, but
looking to the right instead of the left.

The front walk as I arrived home from
work today, March 21, 2013.
(Can you even see the path?)


Lynne FitzGerald said...

Oh dear Lindy, It's even worse than mine in NS. I feel as though I am in winter limbo!

Lindy said...

"Winter limbo" is a good description for how it feels here too. Not quite hell, fortunately. It is supposed to go up to -3 today, which is something to look forward to!