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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons, written by Sid Farrar and illustrated by Ilse Plume. Albert Whitman and Company, Thomas Allen & Son. 2012. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Wily robin asks
earthworm back to her nest to
meet her family"


"The morning rain bursts
dandelions from the earth like
countless little suns"

I love these tiny pictures that chronicle the passing of a year through four distinct seasons. I am just wishing that we were welcoming robins in mid-April rather than hoping to see them sometime in the May or June. It is going to take time yet to melt the snow that remains piled in yards, parking lots and boulevards. I would even be happy to deal with the 'countless' sunny faces of dandelions, for goodness' sake!

This is Sid Farrar's first book although he has been writing poetry for many years. Some of the poems included are ones he wrote for his children when they were small....much younger than they are now! He begins in winter where we in Manitoba have been since so long ago we can't even remember. He creates familiar and reminiscent images just right for sharing with little ones. The words may be spare but the memories evoked and the scenes described are clear and perfect.

The journey through the constant change that each new month brings is accompanied by watercolor illustrations that capture the moment described as clearly as the words do. Jack Frost's masterpieces left on the window panes evoke the shivers of winter while also inspiring awe at the natural beauty of those frozen panes. Shifting from spots to double-page spreads Ilse Plume gives added life to the flawless text. Her lush colors and richly detailed artwork will hold attention and invite discussion.

My favorite haiku in this moment is:

"A mystery how
these endless rows of corn can
agree on their height"

So true, isn't it?

Back matter includes a description of the haiku form, a look at the cycle of life and the changes that  occur, a brief paragraph concerning each of the seasons, and a final haiku of celebration:

"Earth circles the moon
spinning a tapestry of
days, months, seasons - life."

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