Reviews for And Then It's Spring


Booklist Reviews 2011 December #2
*Starred Review* A first-time author and the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2011) team up in this beautiful ode to a patient gardener. After the winter, "you have brown, all around you have brown," but small hints of spring, like red robins and rain, hold promise. A young boy, joined by his dog companion, plants seeds, each labeled with a picture of carrots or sunflowers or peas. But as much as they wait, hope, and examine the dirt with a magnifying glass, there's no green to be found. Fogliano's simple, tender text has a solemn tone, which perfectly reflects the anticipatory state of the boy and his animal friends. The woodblock and pencil illustrations give life to animals so expressive and endearing it hurts, and the layout--a mixture of full-bleed spreads and white-bordered vignettes--paces the story well. A two-spread fantasy in the middle of the story--in which the boy imagines birds pecking at the seeds or bears stomping on them--is smile-inducing, particularly a scene of a befuddled bear with a planter on his head. But what's most fun to notice throughout are the small, subtle details on each page. It's not easy to wait . . . and wait . . . but children, like the boy, may realize that patience often yields big rewards. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans of A Sick Day for Amos McGee--and award-watchers, in general--will be eagerly anticipating this, Stead's first children's book since winning the 2011 Caldecott Medal. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2012 March
The promise of spring

In a beautiful new collaboration, writer Julie Fogliano and illustrator Erin E. Stead capture the long, slow season of renewal. Instead of eye-popping flowers and gobs of glorious greens, this picture book begins: “First you have brown, / all around you have brown.” This is the way spring is, especially around my home in New England, where April and even May can be dreary, cold and brown.

There’s nothing at all dreary, however, in And Then It’s Spring, as a boy and his dog plant vegetable seeds and wait for them to grow. The story follows the days of endless waiting, worry and hope as the boy and his dog stand patiently in sun and rain, waiting for signs of life.

This delicate tale is also filled with immediate, easily accessible fun. A bevy of animals—including birds, a rabbit, a turtle and even bears—helps keep watch over the seeds’ progress. The woodblock and pencil drawings by Stead, a Caldecott Award-winning artist, are pitch perfect, full of quiet anticipation. In one scene, Stead shows the boy, his dog and a rabbit with their ears to the ground, while below are labyrinths of activity as ants, worms, mice and chipmunks travel through underground tunnels, and garden seeds sprout deep roots.

Finally, of course, after weeks of waiting, there comes that magic day: “but the brown isn’t around / and now you have green, / all around you have green.” The boy lazily swings in a tire swing over his garden, barefoot and with his face turned gleefully upward, being warmed by the lovely spring sun. The garden finally comes to life in this subtle ode to hope, patience and rebirth.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
A boy and his companions--a dog, rabbit, and turtle--are on a search for spring. The pacing is exactly right in Fogliano's poetic, understated text with straightforward, childlike observations. Stead's graceful illustrations are woodblock prints with pencil in a palette of browns, grays, light blue, bright green, and touches of red, all set against negative space that most often suggests a cloudy sky.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #1
A small bespectacled boy and his companions, a dog, a rabbit, and a turtle, are on a search for spring. "First you have brown, / all around you have brown / then there are seeds / and a wish for rain, / and then it rains / and it is still brown, / but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown..." Fogliano's poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow's picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations. Her text builds the tension with an expertise of a much more experienced picture book writer, and she gets the pacing exactly right. As for the illustrations, there's no sophomore slump for Stead: her second book is even better than her 2011 Caldecott winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee (rev. 5/10). The graceful illustrations were created with the same medium (woodblock prints with pencil), but here she's used a completely different palette of browns, grays, light blue, bright green, and touches of red, all set against negative space that most often suggests a cloudy sky. Observant readers will notice many humorous touches: the rabbit eagerly anticipating the first sign of carrots in the garden, the dog waiting for a bone he has planted to grow, a bird sunning itself under the garden label of a sunflower. But the humor never overshadows the mood of quiet anticipation or the thrill that comes at book's end when, all of a sudden, "now you have green, / all around / you have / green." kathleen t. horning

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
A boy plants seeds in late winter's brown, barren earth and vigilantly watches for green sprouts alongside his companions (a dog, turtle, rabbit and bird). Rambling narration, elasticized with many ands, thats, commas and a boy's earnest concerns for his seeds, runs on, leaving readers waiting and waiting and waiting--just like the child gardener. The boy's oversized glasses, his tilted, blank face (we never see his eyes) and tiny chin melt hearts instantly. Stead wisely withholds his features, letting Fogliano's babbling stream of small worries and staggeringly sharp imaginings flesh him out. Silly bears might tread on the plantings, unaware of signs that read "please do not stomp here-- / there are seeds / and they are trying." Germinating seeds issue "a greenish hum / that you can only hear / if you put your ear to the ground / and close your eyes." This elaborate inner world and darling voice reverberate in muted wood-block prints and empathetic pencil illustrations as well, its timbre and tone unchanged. Delicate lines run like fine veins, describing animals, trees, plants and fences with intricate and intentional specificity. Sizable, scalloped cloud formations, whose flat panes of white widen double-page horizons, offset both the scrupulous line-work and abundant regions of brown and blue. Their simplicity ventilates these pictures, allowing readers to note amusing secondary animal activities in the dirt. Many treasures lie buried within this endearing story, in which humor and anxious anticipation sprout alongside one another. This sweet seedling will undoubtedly take root and thrive. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 August/September
Those drab winter days can seem very long, especially when you're eagerly waiting for spring. This short story highlights a little boy's wait for the tiny seeds he planted to sprout. While he waits, he diligently checks on his seeds and wonders if something could have happened to them. Thankfully, when the fresh green colors of spring appear, so do his seeds. This story will be perfect for classroom projects about nature, seeds, and spring. Detailed full-page illustrations with very few words make it ideal for reading aloud to groups of young children with short attention spans. Brenda Rogers, Educational Reviewer, Kent, Washington. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 December #3

Readers of Shaun Tan's The Red Tree will recognize the glum-to-radiant trajectory of Fogliano's soft-spoken debut, subtly illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee). Unfolding as a single sentence that carries readers from late winter to spring (almost every page opens with an "and," pushing things along), the story focuses on a boy in blank-eyed glasses, who slouches in barren farmland with a dog, a turtle, and other assorted animals and birds. "First you have brown,/ all around you have brown." The boy plants seeds in the packed earth and waits for the plants to grow. Worry and waiting are recurring themes: did birds eat the seeds? what about that trio of bears, seen happily ignoring the boy's "please do not stomp here" sign? Pale blue sky and tawny drabs flood Stead's block-print-and-pencil images, which yield not a sprout until the closing spread, "and now you have green,/ all around you have green." In an understated and intimate partnership, Fogliano and Stead conjure late winter doldrums and the relief of spring's arrival, well worth the wait. Ages 4-7. Illustrator's agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 January

PreS-Gr 2--The lowercase letters in the title and the theme immediately bring to mind "in just spring" by e. e. cummings. That association continues while experiencing the book's economy of words and construction as a single, lyrical rumination (one initial capital letter; one concluding period). If that earlier poem celebrates the fullness of the season, this one re-creates the moment before--the faith-hope-doubt-worry stage that a gardener experiences after planting: "First you have brown,/all around you have brown…." A bundled and bespectacled boy, his dog, a rabbit, and a turtle, all sporting red knit hats, survey the barren soil, bare trees, and dried stalks. Stead's warm, finely textured scenes, printed from wood blocks and enhanced with pencil, are imbued with realism and quiet humor. The second-person narrative and immediately recognizable emotions pull readers close, as do the delicate details and nuanced expressions that grace the interplay between the characters and their subtly changing surroundings. Fogliano takes seriously the concerned flights of fancy a child conjures while enduring the interminable progress of a seed: "…maybe it was the bears…/because bears can't read signs/that say things like/ 'please do not stomp here--/there are seeds/and they are trying….'" Children will intuitively relate to both the agony of anticipation and the effort of growing. This seemingly real-time experience of getting to green is a droll, wistful ode to the stamina behind wanting, will, and perseverance.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

[Page 74]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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