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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons. Written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad. A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2106. $21.99 ages 6 and up

"july 9

and if a firefly
should one night appear
suddenly in your bedroom
flickering you out of awake
and well into dreaming
don't forget
that even things
lost but still glowing
love a small, whispered ... "

With the turning of the calendar to March this morning, I feel sure that spring is just around the corner. Last year I waited until April (National Poetry Month) to share new books of poetry with you, and I think that I had a new one for every day of the month. That is not going to happen this year as I have not been hoarding them in order to do the same. Besides, I don't think you should wait that long to see what is new.

You need to have this new book on the first day of spring ...

"march 20

"from a snow-covered tree
one bird singing
each tweet poking
a tiny hole
through the edge of winter
and landing carefully
balancing gently
on the tip of spring"

Imagine welcoming your class (and spring) with those eloquent words on your morning message board! While there isn't one poem for every day of each season, there are forty-eight that begin in spring and follow the seasons until the next March 20, when the first poem is repeated. Brilliant!
Share them until your students head home for the summer; then begin again in late summer with your new class. What a perfect way to be sure that you are making poetry a focus throughout the year!

Julie Fogliano's warm, charming poems are each dated and placed in seasonal sections, allowing readers to contemplate the growth and change that happens as the year moves from spring forward. It is a celebration of the pleasures to be found in our natural world.

There are tiny moments of drama.

"october 22

october please
get back in bed
your hands are cold
your nose is red
october please
go back to bed
your sneezing woke december"

And many moments of pleasure and delight.

"january 30

it is the best kind of day
when it is snowing
and the house
sounds like slippers
and sipping
and there is nowhere to go
but the kitchen
for a cookie"  

I could go on and on sharing these beautiful word gems. I will make myself stop to tell you about Julie Morstad's graceful gouache and pencil crayon illustrations. They perfectly match every nuance of the words so carefully crafted by Ms. Fogliano. The other Julie has created a continuity throughout that allows readers to stroll from page to page with familiarity and wonder.

If you can add just one book of poetry to your collection, be sure to give this stunning book a careful look. You will be amazed!


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