I constantly am reminded of how my life has become less and less connected to the seasons in so many ways. As I sit in my air-conditioned home and drive from place to place in the air-conditioned car, eating what had once been considered “seasonal” foods at almost any time of year, I cannot but miss the seasonality of my youth.
The picture book I’ve chosen for today provides a perfect antidote and made me feel like a kid, immersed in nature once again.
Title: When Green Becomes Tomatoes
Written By: Julie Fogliano
Illustrated By: Julie Morstad
Publisher/date: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan), 2016
Suitable for Ages: 5-10, but I’d say all ages
Themes/Topics: seasons, poetry, nature
from a snow-covered tree
one bird singing
each tweet poking
a tiny hole
through the edge of winter
and landing carefully
on the tip of spring
Brief Synopsis: A collection of nature poems divided by seasons
Links to Resources:
- Think of words or images that make you think of a particular season;
- Write a free-verse poem using the words or images that come to mind;
- Think of a color, animal, sound, etc. and then pair it to a season;
- Older children, or the entire family as a group, can keep a nature diary;
- Take a nature walk;
- Plant a garden.
Why I Like this Book: This is a beautiful celebration of the seasons. Divided by date, as diary entries, Julie Fogliano’s lyrical poems take the reader and listener from one spring equinox to the next, beginning, and ending, with the image of one small bluebird poking from winter to spring.
The poems vary in length, but all evoke the sights, sounds, smells, touch and even tastes of the four seasons that children will readily recognize (at least those who live in a region with these four distinct seasons). They can be read separately or together, or grouped by season. Any way they are read, the imagery will leap off the pages: “sounds like slippers” (a house in winter), “snowy arms sagging” (an evergreen in winter), “a star…more flicker glow than blinding”, “a day that drips hot and thick like honey”, and many, many more.
Julie Morstad’s lovely illustrations complement the poems so well, and she includes many multicultural children – an added bonus.
This is a book to own and savor throughout the year. And for those who can’t wait to read the book to find out, when does green become tomatoes? You’ll know because “there will be sky/ and sun/ and possibly a cloud or two….”
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!