cover image Tell Me a Season

Tell Me a Season

Mary McKenna Siddals. Clarion Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-71021-0

This unassuming book observes the cycles of a year and a day, moving both through the seasons and through the course of a day-from ""Spring morning"" to ""Winter night."" First-time author Siddals's plain, restrained text throws no curves, mainly serving to gently structure the series of paintings. Mathers's (Sophie and Lou) watercolors shift in palette as well as imagery. Her compositions encompass the dusky purplish browns (""brown mud/ brown trees"") of early spring warming to the clear, bright ""green/ green/ green"" of summer vegetation; rich, mellow fall tones give way to winter's ""snow white"" and ""shadows black."" She shows the glowing yellow sun of midsummer, the ripe red sunset of autumn, the remote moon of the winter sky. A red house painted in a naif style provides readers with a steady, year-round point of reference; joyful children and a goofy dog play under the yard's changing trees, season permitting. Mathers's illustrations convey a disarming innocence, making this a book of simple but deeply gratifying pleasures. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)