Tag Archives: fogliano

Day 93 – When Green Becomes Tomatoes

As you will know if you follow this blog, we thoroughly enjoyed reading Julie Fogliano’s “and then it’s spring” on Day 80 of our storybook year. Imagine our delight when we discovered “When Green Becomes Tomatoes”, a book of verse about the seasons by Ms. Fogliano, which was released on March 1, 2016. The timing was just right for us to put it on the list for April…National Poetry Month…and boy, are we glad we did!

GreenThis charming book is a compilation of short, free verse poetry presented as a series of journal entries. The journal begins and ends on March 20, the vernal equinox, and there are poems scattered intermittently on days throughout the year in between (I hesitate to say that they are scattered randomly…that may be the case, but the author may have some intentional pattern that I haven’t noticed yet). The delightfully evocative prose captures how I imagine a child would view, and experience, the changing of the seasons – conveying a sense of wonder in the process. Ms. Fogliano finds ways, with short clauses and carefully chosen words, to present ideas in a creative and intriguing way which really appealed to us. I paused periodically while reading to ponder what she was saying, and thought to myself, “I wouldn’t have thought to describe it that way…but it absolutely makes sense.”  We appreciated the way that each season is welcomed in it’s time – the writer is clearly ready for each transition to take place.

Ms. Morstad’s  illustrations are a perfect complement to Ms. Fogliano’s poetry – presenting playful and colorful images of children interacting with the changing seasons. We love Ms. Morstad’s artwork, in “When Green Becomes Tomatoes” as well as in “How To” and “This Is Sadie” – two other books which we own and will be reading and reviewing here later this year.

There wasn’t a poem in this book that we didn’t enjoy. We had a lot of fun taking turns reading aloud and presenting different vocal interpretations of each poem, followed by extensive discussion in some cases. It was a truly interactive and fulfilling read-aloud experience!


Day 80 – and then it’s spring

In honor of the first day of spring today we read a whimsical, wonderful book about a little boy and his animal friends waiting for the season to start. The story begins with the little boy, his scarf blowing in the wind and his nose red from the cold, looking into the distance across a barren brown landscape: “First you have brown, all around you have brown…” The text (“First you have…”), the boy’s distant gaze, and the expectant tilt of his dog’s head convey a sense of anticipation…something is coming.spring

Eager to help spring arrive as soon as possible, the boy plants seeds…and he waits. He inspects his handiwork…and he waits. He sits in his little red wagon and fears that his seeds have been devoured by fat little birds or stomped by clumsy bears…and he waits. He sets out bird feeders and hangs a tire swing…and he waits. Meanwhile, underground there is a riot of activity…a “greenish hum” which you can hear “if you put your ear to the ground and close your eyes.” And eventually, one day he walks out and all that brown isn’t around…instead “all around you have green.”

“and then it’s spring” by author Julie Fogliano and illustrator Erin E. Stead is a sweet and lovely book which we thoroughly enjoyed – in English and then in a Spanish translation as well. primaveraLike Kevin Henkes’ “Waiting”, “and then it’s spring” does a marvelous job of combining limited but well-chosen prose with beautifully detailed and subtly humorous artwork to effectively capture what I imagine waiting must feel like through the eyes of a child. We were particularly fond of Ms. Stead’s drawings: the little boy’s confident and determined posture as he pulls his wagon full of gardening supplies, the haphazard arrangement of seed mounds in the little boy’s garden, the little animal vignettes taking place all around him, and especially the small variations from page to page that hint of the coming change in seasons. I recommend reading the book once through to get the flow of Ms. Fogliano’s text first, followed by a slower second pass to truly savor all the fascinating and funny details Ms. Stead has managed to work into every page.