cover image If I Was the Sunshine

If I Was the Sunshine

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Loren Long. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7243-2

“If i was the sunshine/ and you were the day,” Fogliano (A House That Once Was) writes, “i’d call you hello!/ and you’d call me stay.” Each stanza of this lilting poem imagines a pair of partners in the natural world—winter and spring, thunder and cloud—and gives them the power to speak and to name each other: “i’d call you whisper/ and you’d call me sing.” To bestow a special, private name upon something draws the named closer to the namer, and each appellation echoes the intimacy shared by the poem’s speaker and the entity being addressed. Long (Love) begins the story on a farm, with a long view of a figure in overalls and a child holding hands, surrounded by the warmth of a summer morning. But he doesn’t stay focused on them. Instead, he pulls back, surveying the wilderness beyond the farm in spring, beneath a storm, and under snow before returning to farmland in summer dusk. Elements of the landscape (the mountains, the ocean) and the creatures that inhabit it (bear cubs, squirrels) are seen interacting in ways that mirror the relationships described in the poem. The word love never appears in Fogliano’s text, but it can be felt on every page. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May) [/em]