From My Window I See… The Seasons (Dr. Barbara Cavanagh)

Hello, friends! Our book today is From My Window I See… The Seasons, written by Dr. Barbara Cavanagh and illustrated by Jess Porta.

In rhyming text, an unidentified protagonist describes the passing seasons as seen through a large picture window. As fall turns to winter, then to spring, then to summer and back again, the narrator notes that each season brings new joys, in particular those experienced by the two little girls whose window it is. We see them swimming in summer, playing in fall leaves, plucking peaches off spring trees, and frolicking in snow. And while the narrator has questions about why the seasons bring changes, they still marvel at the fact that no season is their favorite – each one is special in its own way.

Uneven yet earnest. This indie has a few things going for it: the painted illustrations of pastoral scenes and charming tableaus of the two little girls – their faces unseen yet still full of character and life – are absolutely lovely. And the latter half of the book – in which the narrator muses on which season is their favorite then decides they cannot choose – has a strong direction and theme. However, the first half, which poses more quantifiable questions, is a bit of a jumble; answers are not offered or even considered, and seasons jump around with no logical flow. Furthermore, the text throughout struggles to maintain a cohesive rhythm, and some sentences are grammatically impenetrable (“I guess that’s why seasons each have a name,/So that we will know they will not be the same”). Overall, however, this appears to be a genuine effort to take pleasure in the joys of the changing seasons, and in this, it succeeds. The length is fine, and JJ adored the detailed pictures. A bit rough around the edges, but worth a look for the art alone. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Green On Green (Dianne White)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Green On Green, written by Dianne White and illustrated by Felicita Sala, a lovely meditation on color, the seasons, and family.

As the seasons change around a quiet country home near the shore, the family that lives there – a father, mother, and son, along with their dog and horse – go about their lives. In spring, yellow flowers bloom, yellow bees buzz, and yellow lemonade sits on a table, fresh and cool; yellow on green is the color of spring. In summer, it’s blue on green: the blue of the seashore, the blue of the truck that carried friends and neighbors to the picnic, against the green of the grass and the deep water. So follows brown on green in autumn, with fall leaves and pies and spices. Winter brings white on green, in the snow and foggy breath. And when spring comes again, the green earth grows – and so does the little family.

Absolutely lovely. This heartwarming meditation on life, both that of one family’s as well as the earth as a whole, is filled with the simple, peaceful joys of the changing seasons through the young boy’s perspective. Quiet childhood moments such as reading a book in the summer shade or playing in a pumpkin patch are beautifully illustrated and paired with spare yet deeply evocative text; each scene is serene and comforting in its own way. Especially striking are the traditions between seasons, signaled by a single static element that carried across two pages: a boy’s feet in yellow galoshes becomes bare feet sprinting through ocean surf, etc. The subplot of the family welcoming a new baby is a perfect button, and though it is a bit strange that mom is noticeably pregnant for the entire year before the baby’s birth, it’s forgivable as younger readers will likely not notice the oddity. The length is perfect for any age, and JJ loved the soothing tone and gorgeous artwork. A gentle and tender tale that any reader will enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Greetings!: A Poetic Romp Through The Seasons (Raven Howell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Greetings!: A Poetic Romp Through The Seasons, written by Raven Howell and illustrated by Ann Pilicer.

A little girl and her younger brother play, eat, and adventure their way through a year of seasons, enjoying all the activities and fun each has to offer. They begin spring by saying goodbye to winter, and marvel at the blossoming flowers, the hatching robin’s eggs, and rainy showers. Each subsequent season is similarly greeted as the previous is bade farewell, until the winter is over, and spring can begin once again.

This was delightful! Howell’s simple rhymes wisely stick to a consistent yet fun and engaging rhythm; for instance, the fifth and six line of each stanza features a separate 1-2-1 meter within them, such as “crack, egg, crack/sing, bird, sing!” that JJ loved. Some of the rhymes, such as “winter” and “peppermint-er” felt like a bit of a stretch, but never in a way that was clunky or stumbling. Driving the story alongside the poem are the gorgeously illustrated scenes of brother and sister – along with appearances by their puppy and friends – partaking in seasonal festivities. They trick-or-treat, swim in a stream, and frolic in the snow, their cherubic faces beaming with delight. In particular, Pilicer’s choices in regard to color and environment are lovely, and she creates scenes that capture the childhood fun of changing seasons. The length is great for any age and JJ loved it! An indie gem well-worth a read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

They Say Blue (Jillian Tamaki)

Hello, friends! Our book today is They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, a thought-provoking meditation on the colors of life.

They say that the sky is blue, and that the sea is too, thinks the little girl who serves as narrator. However, she muses, when she holds the water in her hand, it becomes as clear as glass; when she throws it into the sky, it sparkles like diamonds. It’s this train of thought – the natural wonders of color, of seasons, of nature, of life – that the girl remarks on as she goes about her days. The yellow of a field seems like a sea she could sail upon, unless of course the rain has made it gray and dull (though that same rain is what brings the vibrant purple flowers of spring). Her hair is as black as the cloak of night, and her mother parts it like a curtain to let the sun in each morning; braids it as the two consider the equally black crows outside, and what the crows might be considering of them in return.

This is a truly lovely book. There’s no real lesson here: colors, seasons, and weather are all touched upon but hardly covered in-depth. The narrative flows more like a stream of consciousness, one of childlike wonder, curiosity, and imagination. It’s a journey, and a beautiful one at that, filled with striking art that blends the real, symbolic, and abstract in swirling, sweeping movement and, yes, color. The text has a soothing tone that doesn’t compete with the illustrations, making for a calming and contemplative read. The length was great, and JJ and I both enjoyed this. A beautiful look at the life of color, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

In Winter…/En Invierno… (Susana Madinabeitia Manso)

Hello, friends! Our book today is In Winter…/En Invierno…, written by Susana Madinabeitia Manso and featuring photo illustrations by Emily Hanako Momohara, the conclusion of Seasons, a series of bilingual board books celebrating the each season of the year.

Featuring photography of a little boy experiencing the joys of winter, the text presents excitement about a different winter activity in both Spanish and English, then asking a related question of the reader in the same fashion. For example, the photo shows the child constructing a snowman, accompanied by the text “In winter… I am going to build a snowman!/En invierno… ¡Voy a hacer un muñeco de nieve!”. After sharing and conversing about favorite winter things, the text inquires what the reader looks forward to in winter.

Lovely! Despite this being the last in the series, this is the first of the Seasons book we’ve gotten a chance to look at, and it’s absolutely charming. The brightly-composed photographs and their endearing child star are engaging, and the exploration of the seasonal offerings of winter – plus bilingual text that encourages learning for readers of all skill levels in both languages – offers a wealth of educational and creative-thinking opportunities. I did see a note in another review that the critic noticed a Spanish-language grammatical error; I wouldn’t know as I am not fluent, but it is perhaps worth mentioning. But for my money, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book that JJ and I had fun sharing, and makes me want to check out the rest of the series. Good length for storytime, informational and entertaining, and JJ and I loved it! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)