cover image October Smiled Back

October Smiled Back

Lisa Westberg Peters. Henry Holt & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1776-2

In this subdued chronicle of a year's passage, Peters (When the Fly Flew In) depicts the months as 12 fair- and foul-weather friends. Her volume begins with the onset of winter: ""Shy November looked out with her eyes puddle-gray./ I peeked in and whispered, `Come on.../ ...want to play?' "" Generous December provides snow to build ""a woolly white bear [with] icicle hair,"" but January and February are too drowsy to have fun. Peters subtly conjures the months' personalities, and she is matched well with Caldecott Medalist Young (Lon Po Po). Filling each spread with cut- and torn-paper collages, the artist uses handmade papers for pulpy textures, grainy speckles or, in the case of June's fiery dragon, a marbleized effect. Autumn features oversize silhouettes of squirrels and children's faces in profile; spring comes on with splashy greens; and summer ends with a wistful pastel sunset. The author and illustrator present nature in repose, without deep freezes or heat waves; the overall impression is of four temperate seasons. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)