cover image A Child's Calendar

A Child's Calendar

John Updike. Holiday House, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1445-1

letter day for poetry lovers. Each month receives its due in shiveringly lovely verse while Hyman's brightly populated watercolors trace the corresponding activities of a lively Vermont family. The interplay of text and art has both depth and beauty. The language and illustrations are not merely pretty or ornamentally descriptive, but vibrantly alive--enough to keep young readers occupied through more than one reading. Crisp images from the poems are amplified or buried like treasures in the artwork. In March, ""Pale crocuses/ Poke through the ground/ Like noses come/ To sniff around,"" while the family is pictured tending the sheep that likewise burrow their noses into waiting hands. Familiar things are made new with the grace and freshness of Updike's simple and accessible imagery. In June, for example, ""The live-long light/ Is like a dream,/ And freckles come/ Like flies to cream."" A breathtaking book that will unfold the world to new readers: ""each flower, leaf,/ And blade of turf--/ Small love-notes sent/ From air to earth."" Ages 4-up. (Sept.)