cover image A Year with Friends

A Year with Friends

John Seven, illus. by Jana Christy. Abrams Appleseed, $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0443-7

This cheerful tour of the months of the year pairs Christy's airy artwork with simple sentences that introduce seasonal activities. The spreads offer silent mini-narratives that unfold in varying numbers of panels, with whimsical thematic images encircling each scene. Images of muddy footprints and handprints form a border for the April spread ("April is time to get messy"), while the main panels show a dark-haired boy making a running leap into a mud puddle, with joyfully explosive results. In February, "time for snuggling," a cat delivers a valentine to the same boy, seen reading under the covers of his bed, while in May ("time for flowers"), a red-headed girl and her dog plant seeds, which blossom into quite the garden. Rather than mentioning specific holidays by name, the book hints at festive occasions%E2%80%94"July is time for fireworks"; "October is time for tricks and treats"%E2%80%94keeping the emphasis on the generous, sociable, and downright fun things friends do together. Christy's illustrations provide humor, energy, and entertainment with year-round appeal. Ages 3%E2%80%936. (Jan.)