cover image SEASONS: A Book of Poems

SEASONS: A Book of Poems

Charlotte Zolotow, , illus. by Erik Blegvad. . HarperCollins, $14.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026698-1

Looking through this reassuring beginning reader is like taking a nostalgic stroll through a miniature Norman Rockwell painting. The quiet poems and etched pen-and-ink drawings from this team, previously paired for I Like to Be Little, seem vaguely familiar—children huddle in yellow raincoats under an umbrella, ride bareback on a brown farm horse or watch stars on the porch of a Victorian house. The images hark back to an uncomplicated childhood in which mothers hang out the wash on a windy day and desks have no computers. Zolotow filters each poem through the lens of a child's sense of wonder, as she describes a cat as "a furry purry lovely/ mystery" or the "special kind of quiet" that accompanies the first snow of the season. The tranquil simplicity of the verses is particularly suitable for struggling new readers. The poet captures the ineffable promise of things to come in "The Crickets" that "fill the night/ with their voices—/ It is like/ a message/ in another language/ spoken to a part/ of me/ who hasn't/ happened yet." Loosely organized around the seasons, the book is liberally plumped up with everyday poems about birthdays, anger, grownups, parents and more. Blegvad's landscapes gleam with the colors of the seasons and provide an ideal accompaniment for Zolotow's gentle, comforting verses. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)