cover image Songs for the Seasons

Songs for the Seasons

Jamake Highwater. HarperCollins, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10658-4

Speidel (Coconut Kind of Day) focuses on a pair of red-tailed hawks in her atmospheric chalk pastels for this sonorous poem about seasonal change. In summer, the hawks fly above the meadow, which ``clicks and clatters/ in the fierce heat''; in the winter, they ``glide in the cloudless sky.'' Like the work of Ed Young, Speidel's muted illustrations are scumbled and impressionistic; each turn of the page reveals another sweeping panorama, aptly matching Highwater's (Moonsong Lullaby) reverent tones. Much of the language is rich and poignant (e.g., the Moon ``sings silver in the blue-black sky''). But the syntax and content can be complex (``Tall trees that seemed forever lost--/ fragile victims of winter's kill/ amaze the morning with their mysteries/ as a new spring is born of an old winter/ .../ and death itself lies dead''), and well beyond the sensibilities of young readers. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)