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Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by David Diaz



Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by David Diaz (Margaret McElderry/Simon and Schuster) offers a joyful way for the very young to learn about the seasons, while it may remind older readers of the varied pleasures of the year. Lee Bennett Hopkins introduces the four sections with an epigraph from an established, beloved, and deceased writer, while most of the poems have been written by living people, some of whom happily have several poems included. One of his own poems leads off each season, and repeating “always --/always” in the second stanza of each helps set off a sense of cycling instead of a forward movement through.

The poems are short enough to hold the attention of very young readers, but there’s some sophistication in the imagery and often humor that doesn’t strike me as bound to any single age group. Poems such as Joan Bransfield Graham’s “Boardwalk in Winter” or her “The Day After Labor Day” point to weather ahead or behind, binding the poems. Transitions are wonderfully bouncy or smooth. I enjoyed Beverly McLoughland’s “Don’t You Dare,” told from the voice of a Robin demanding not another “tweety rhyme/ with a redbreast in it,” then ending: “Think Frog,” and how it’s followed by Candace Pearson’s charming “Polliwog.”

Of course the illustrations are stunning, too. David Diaz, who showed how much can be told through changing color in the Caldecott-winning Smoky Night, uses whole different palettes here, and ones that establish some of each season’s pleasures. A glow around people, flowers, and creatures unite the beautiful tones.

On another Poetry Friday note, thank you Laura Shovan for asking me five really interesting – I thought! – questions about Borrowed Names. You can read the interview in two parts -- not that we're long-winded, but two poets talking poetry, well.. at http://authoramok.blogspot.com/

And for more Poetry Friday posts, please visit http://poemfarm.blogspot.com/

Comments

(Anonymous)

from Laura @AuthorAmok

Hi, Jeannine! You are so welcome.

I'll have to share this book with my daughter (10). She's writing her own book of summer-themed poems. My favorite so far is Snowball Lipstick. Thanks for this review.

Re: from Laura @AuthorAmok

Love that project! Snowball lipstick sounds good! I think Sharing the Seaons would be a lot of fun to use to inspire poetry, as there are lots of tones and forms, and the shine and color of the varied illustrations alone could spur responses.

(Anonymous)

Jeannine,

I think this poetry book is one of the best seasonal antholgies I have ever read. I love the diversity of voices and the gorgeous illustrations. Great review! Thanks.

Elaine Magliaro
Elaine, I'm very willing to bet you've read more seasonal anthologies than me or maybe anyone, so that's saying a lot! I liked the surprises in this one. Thanks for stopping by!

(Anonymous)

I've 'used many of the poems in this collection as warm-ups for my middle school language arts and reading classes. I agree with you that the poems can be enjoyed at every level.

Now, I'm heading over to Laura's blog to read your interview!

Happy July 4th. weekend!

Linda Kulp
Linda, that's great to hear! Thanks for stopping by, and hope you have a happy weekend, too!
Well, I'm glad to read your positive review of Sharing the Seasons (even the poem titles are enticing), and the positive comments so far posted, since it is on its way to my house with another seven books. As you can see, I am singlehandedly helping the economy by keeping Amazon in business.
I'm sure you'll like this one, Toby. And I love your way of helping the economy! Not to mention writers. Hope your weekend is full of good clouds -- I'm not much of a fourth celebrator, unless I get an invite to a quiet lake...
I was thrilled to be in the audience at the Poetry Blast at ALA this week to hear Lee Bennett Hopkins read from this book. He was marvelous and so are the poems!!! Thanks for sharing here!
The Poetry Blast sounded like one amazing and unforgettable event! Lucky you! And thanks for dropping by here!
The illustrations in this book absolutely GLOW!
I'm glad that even the tiny reproduction of the cover hints at the radiance inside! Thanks for stopping by, Amy, and enjoy the book!
This is one I'll definitely watch for!

Your interview was great! Laura asked fabulous questions, and I enjoyed her own comments interspersed.

Loved seeing all those stars above your book at ALA!!
Mary Lee, you'll like this. And I'm glad you liked the interview. Laura did ask probing, heartfelt questions which made me think: it's a special treat to be interviewed by another poet!

It's great that you were able to go to ALA. Your haul back should keep you busy at least through July, yes?
This looks lovely -- thanks for the review. Enjoyed the interview, too!
Thank you, Karen!

Sharing the Seasons

The book sounds charming. Love the idea of a poem from the robin's POV - and the cover art by David Diaz. Thanks for the review. I'll look for this!

Re: Sharing the Seasons

Thank you for coming by! That cover art does well express the lovely illustrations inside, and I agree: a poem from a robin's point of view, especially a robin with clear tastes in poetry, is a gem.