And Then It’s Spring
And Then It's Spring
Julie Fogliano, illus. by Erin E. Stead
ISBN 9781596436244
Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012.
A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Picture Books
5 stars
Keywords: and-then-spring gardening julie-fogliano nature seasons

And Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano, illus. by Erin E. Stead

Your youngsters will greatly appreciate this extraordinary picture book—a debut for author Julie Fogliano, and the second for Caldecott-winning artist Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee). It is a love letter to spring.

Fogliano’s words fill the mouth with round sounds that children will want to say and hear over and over again. “First you have brown,/ all around you have brown,” her poetic tale begins. The child’s red farmhouse perched on a hill, red wool mittens, scarf and hat, and a small red bird dot the otherwise mocha-colored rolling hills with chocolate stripes. Stead’s woodblock and pencil approach lends these large planes of color the density and texture of a rain-soaked patch of ground in early spring. After the rain, a group of loyal animal companions crowd around as the child searches for signs of life, and they all step back with the lack of evidence. A standout spread demonstrates “the brown,/ still brown” with its “greenish hum/ that you can only hear/ if you put your ear to the ground/ and close your eyes.” The child and rabbit press their ears to the earth, while readers watch subterranean mice, ants and earthworms on the move.

Everything about the young hero suggests attentive care for and cultivation of his surroundings: an old tire gets a new life as a swing, and a refashioned milk carton serves as a birdfeeder. Fogliano and Stead capture that annual feeling of doubt, and the payoff that comes with patience. Perfection.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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