cover image When Spring Comes

When Spring Comes

Kevin Henkes, illus. by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-233139-7

With lyricism and an eye for drama in small things, the husband-and-wife team of Henkes and Dronzek introduce and examine the unfolding of spring, "Before Spring comes,/ the trees look like/ black sticks against the sky," he begins. "But if you wait/ Spring will bring/ leaves and blossoms." Dronzek's cozy paintings combine the simplified shapes of plants, creatures, and children, outlining them in heavy black and filling them in with scumbled brushstrokes. A seed sprouts in the dirt, seen in cross-section as the roots grow first and leaves emerge. An egg shows a hairline crack, from which a pink, featherless bird hatches. Henkes is honest about spring's more trying moments, weaving themes of waiting and patience throughout: "Spring can come quickly or slowly," he writes, above a vignette of daffodils in full bloom. "It changes its mind a lot," he continues as the flowers wilt under the weight of wet snow. Readers, especially those who live in regions that experience the full range of changing seasons, will warm to this catalog of familiar joys. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Feb.)