cover image PARK BEAT: Rhymin' Through the Seasons

PARK BEAT: Rhymin' Through the Seasons

Jonathan London, , illus. by Woodleigh Marx Hubbard. . HarperCollins, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13994-0

A vast park—replete with creek, pond, path, horses and gardening plots—serves as the main canvas for the changes of the seasons in this muddled picture book. A list of images, in rhymed verse, describes the different seasons: "Birds chirpin' and frogs burpin',/ Creek's flowin' and flowers growin',/ Crickets bouncin' and kittens pouncin',/ Gardeners putterin' and butterflies flutterin',/…/ Rappin' and tappin' and finger-snappin'/ On a walk through spring." The droppin' of the final "g" quickly grows tiresome, and beginning readers may be confused by the mix of apostrophes ("Ballplayers sweatin' and hot sun's settin' "). Hubbard (previously paired with London for Hip Cat) unleashes whirlwind-like energy, painting overly busy, densely patterned folk-ish compositions that compete with the text. Where the verses point to nature, Hubbard offers trees with blue, purple and green leaves; orange skies filled with flying pies; dancing insects; etc. Unfortunately, this talented pair seems to be working at cross purposes. Ages 3-up. (May)