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Review: And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano

And Then It’s Spring
By Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)

ISBN: 9781596436244
Grades PreK-2
In Stores Feb. 14, 2012

*Best New Book*

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

The funny thing about follow-ups is that they usually start as just the next project. Then a big award comes and the next book suddenly takes on an importance that could never have been predicted. And Then It’s Spring is that book for Erin E. Stead, who won the 2011 Caldecott with A Sick Day for Amos McGee but had begun illustration work for this title before the shiny sticker came a-calling. Together with first time author Julie Fogliano, what we get is a different sort of book than Amos McGee, but a lovely one through and through.

First you have brown,

all around you have brown

The story follows a bespectacled boy, his dog, and assorted friendly wildlife as they engage in that annual miracle of nature – growing a garden. Beginning with seeds, the story builds through the rain, waiting, doubt, and never-ending brown that must be endured. In the final spread, a garden begins to emerge.

Unlike the prose of Amos McGee, And Then It’s Spring is a poem. Think Liz Garton Scanlon’s and Marla Frazee’s 2010 Caldecott Honor-winning All the World. Fogliano’s quiet, poetic text is spare yet engaging, succeeding in bringing fresh perspective to the tried-and-true concept of “spring”.

Stead illustrates using a unique block print and pencil technique (see how it’s done in this video). The results are something to see. The care and talent in this artwork will likely move Stead into the category of children’s book illustrators that will draw Caldecott attention every time out. You can count on And Then It’s Spring being in the discussion come the end of the year. And with spreads like this, can you argue?

(Click to enlarge)

A new book, a similar success. And Then It’s Spring is the sort of timeless title that should be added to every collection.

Review copy from publisher

Watch the book trailer for And Then It’s Spring:

(Thanks to Watch. Connect. Read. for the link)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.