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/