Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of And Then It’s Spring

And Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano; 
illus. by Erin E. Stead
Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp.
2/12    978-1-59643-624-4    $16.99

A small bespectacled boy and his companions, a dog, a rabbit, and a turtle, are on a search for spring. “First you have brown, / all around you have brown / then there are seeds / and a wish for rain, / and then it rains / and it is still brown, / but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown…” Fogliano’s poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow’s picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations. Her text builds the tension with an expertise of a much more experienced picture book writer, and she gets the pacing exactly right. 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). The graceful illustrations were created with the same medium (woodblock prints with pencil), but here she’s used a completely different palette of browns, grays, light blue, bright green, and touches of red, all set against negative space that most often suggests a cloudy sky. Observant readers will notice many humorous touches: the rabbit eagerly anticipating the first sign of carrots in the garden, the dog waiting for a bone he has planted to grow, a bird sunning itself under the garden label of a sunflower. But the humor never overshadows the mood of quiet anticipation or the thrill that comes at book’s end when, all of a sudden, “now you have green, / all around / you have / green.”

From the January/February 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kathleen T. Horning About Kathleen T. Horning

Kathleen T. Horning is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and teaches a popular online course for ALSC on the history of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.



  1. I am in love with this book. It’s shipping out to stores and libraries right now. I urge you to seek it out and spend some time with it. It’s an exquisite experience and will deserve many readings. Thanks for the great review K.T..

  2. Thanks for highlighting a “quiet” book! It’s the books like this that help us notice the small things in life that are the most satisfying to read with a child.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.


  1. […] Picture book honor winner author Julie Fogliano says And Then It’s Spring was “thought 156″ of a year writing one thought a day as a birthday gift for a […]

  2. […] 1:54pm: Look out! Here come the picture books! #BGHB honor book And Then It’s Spring and winner Extra Yarn up now at #BGHB […]

Speak Your Mind