And Then It's Spring Hardcover – Feb 14 2012
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“Green is what the bespectacled boy in Julie Fogliano's 'And Then It's Spring' eagerly hopes to see as he waits for seeds he has planted to sprout from the brown earth. Did birds eat the seeds? Did bears trample them? In Erin E. Stead's finely drawn illustrations, we see the imagined bears lounging in the seedbeds with a sign that reads: 'Please do not stomp here--there are seeds and they are trying.'” ―The Wall Street Journal
“This seemingly real-time experience of getting to green is a droll, wistful ode to the stamina behind wanting, will, and perseverance.” ―School Library Journal, Starred
“In an understated and intimate partnership, Fogliano and Stead conjure late winter doldrums and the relief of spring's arrival, well worth the wait.” ―Publishers Weekly, Starred
“This sweet seedling will undoubtedly take root and thrive. ” ―Kirkus, Starred
“Fogliano's poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow's picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations…As for the illustrations, there's no sophomore slump for Stead: her second book is even better than her 2011 Caldecott winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee (rev. 5/10).” ―Horn Book Magazine, Starred
“A first-time author and the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2011) team up in this beautiful ode to a patient gardener.” ―Booklist, Starred
“…a humble yet miraculous world…” ―BCCB
From the Author
I have always been fascinated by the rock, its texture, color, and form are a source of endless wonder to me. In retrospect, my life thus far has in many ways, been intertwined with the rock, its beauty, its exploration and it's understanding.
I consider the acquisition of knowledge to be a journey of discovery and true to that ideal I have blended the understanding of the land with its physical exploration. There is still one unsurveyed frontier in Southern Ontario; it is Ontario's underground geography. Unbeknown to most, there are many areas of the province that are underlain by extensive tunnel systems. It is a landscape that is largely undiscovered and there is historical significance in the exploration of those places. To wriggle down a narrow stone tube into a cavern hung with soda straws and drooping folds of flowstone is inspirational. To be the first human being to see that sight is absolutely magnificent. I derive spiritual pleasure from such experiences and I hope to educate others in the appreciation of those features.
I have crafted my book for people like me who love the natural world and who derive immense excitement in the exploration and interpretation of the land. The book has been written so as to appeal to the explorer who is intent upon enjoying the allure and mystery of the province's geography and yet at the same time learning about the rock in terms of its strata, age, formative processes and distinguishing features.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing is spare, but not one word is out of place, and there is not a cliche in sight. The idea of "the brown" that "has a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground" is one of my favourite lines in the book. Then Stead's interpretation of what the bears who cannot read signs are doing with the signs is just funny.
On the surface, it can be summed up as a book about a boy who plants some seeds and then waits for them to grow. However, it is about much more than that. Kudos.
I was just waiting ... Which, you might think was the undertone of the book, "to be waiting for something spectacular." And I was, but the narration fell short of that. It was... bland.
It's not that I didn't enjoy this book. It was just one of those books that my son and I finished and it was immediately pushed to the side as he threw another one in my lap.
There seemed to be nothing special. It wasn't funny, clever, or moving. I can't recommend this one.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Simple. Mostly about the illustrations, to me.
I will use this in my classroom (if I teach K or 1) with extended reading activities.
A boy, his dog, his turtle, a rabbit, and various assorted birds go out on a day that wavers between blue and gray skies. Says the book, "First you have brown, all around you have brown." Armed with a wagon of seeds the boy sets about planting each one systematically, burying them under little mounds of dirt. The sun and the rain come but there is no green to be seen. A week passes and the boy worries about the seeds and whether or not they've been eaten by birds or crushed by bears. Another week passes and another until one day the brown is all gone, "and now you have green, all around you have green." And there, pushing through the earth, the seedlings make their debut.
When we think of books that talk about the sheer torture of waiting for a seed to emerge from the good brown earth the very first thing that comes to mind is the story "The Garden" from Frog and Toad Together. In that story Frog is wise and patient with Toad's seeds while Toad becomes the child reader's avatar and insists on knowing how soon they will be up. It's a great tale but part of what I like about And Then It's Spring is that Ms. Fogliano does a great job of making it even clearer than Lobel just how long it takes for a seed to sprout. She is ecumenical in her wordplay too. There's no phrase or sentence out of place here. What's more, Ms. Fogliano taps into just the right sense of what the world is like when it's too warm to snow and too cold to enjoy. Spring is all about "brown, but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown," and "that sunny day that happens right after that rainy day." Without becomes precious or twee, Fogliano knows how to make simple concepts not only understandable but meaningful as well.
On the bookflap of this title the biography of illustrator Erin E. Stead states that "Today she lives in a 100-year-old barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan..." That sounds about right. Part of what works for me in this book is the Michiganess of it all. Oh I'm sure that there are all kinds of areas in the country where this could take place, but I grew up in Kalamazoo. I know all too well the state's remarkably drawn out springs. The ones that just seems to dwell in dirt and gray skies for weeks at a time until, as this book says, "all around you have green." Stead's previous illustrated picture book was the Caldecott Award winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee. In that title her world was an urban one. Buses and zoos and small city homes. Now with Ms. Fogliano's words she is given a little space to stretch out and breathe. There's room here for those vast blue and gray skies with the white clouds that go all the way down to the horizon. There's room too for tree swings and striated fields. With an Erin Stead book you feel you could almost smell that earth and that air.
Stead also does sneaky things in her images to allay the impatience of the readers. While the text is about waiting and waiting and waiting, there is at least one image where kids have an advantage over their bespectacled protagonist. A fine cutaway of the earth beneath the boy shows the various holes and tunnels of the critters under the dirt. You might be so taken with the image of the mouse listening to the dirt as a worm approaches or the ants hoarding their seed pile that you'd miss the seeds themselves, their roots pushing far down, as their green tips head up. It's like a little glimpse into the future right there.
The nice thing about Ms. Stead's woodblock printing and pencil technique is that parents who reread this story to their kids will find lots of little details they've never seen before (many of them, I dare say, pointed out to them by their own children). For me, there were tiny details that took several reads, and big details so obvious I passed them entirely the first time around. The little things included the antics of the birds on nearly every page or the ways in which the boy spruces up his garden. One page might show a blue birdhouse sitting in a red wagon. Later in another you can see that same birdhouse hanging with an occupant inside. The big details were worth finding as well. For example, how long was it before I realized that you never see the boy's eyes? He's like a young Bunsen Honeydew, ever observant but, aside from his body language, expressionless. Similarly, it took me a little while before I realized that the scene that takes place on the cover of the book happens AFTER the action inside. Sneaky.
Quiet picture books do not demand attend like their bolder, brassier counterparts. An Erin E. Stead book isn't going to try to blind you with glitter or shock the page with colors that throb and burn. In this book you have to discover and appreciate the merit of Ms. Fogliano's words and fall for Ms. Stead's art. As odd as it sounds, the book I would most like to pair this with is not necessarily the aforementioned Frog and Toad Together but rather the equally countryside-loving book Farm by Elisha Cooper. Both books understand the growing season and both understand that sometimes it takes the overwhelming vastness of a big blue sky to appreciate the tiny lives that dwell beneath your feet. This is a gem of a book, bound to be pulled out every spring yet also bound to be read throughout the year in spite of its seasonal theme. Worth it.
This book has simple words and beautiful illustrations. It is great for a read aloud in March in parts of the country that are patiently awaiting spring. The illustrations are cute. The boy is adorable with his glasses and his magnifying glass. There is a sweet dog, tortoise, and rabbit on every page. My favorite is when the tortoise sits on its tail. There is one page where it says "And the brown, still brown, has a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground an close you eyes." On that page, you can see into the ground. You can see worms and ants making paths, mice sleeping or popping up to see what's going on. Above ground, the boy and the rabbit are listening to the ground. You can also see the roots growing deeper and deeper. While reading this to children, it is great to slow down and look at the pictures.
Just like in real life, the last page is an instant green. I always marvel in the fact that it seems to turn green overnight. This wonderful picture book portrays that perfectly. Overall a perfectly sweet, simple book showing spring appearing at just the right time!