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Review of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

fogliano_when green becomes tomatoesWhen Green Becomes 
Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
by Julie Fogliano; 
illus. by Julie Morstad
Primary, Intermediate   Porter/Roaring Brook   56 pp.
3/16   978-1-59643-852-1   $18.99

This collection of nearly fifty seasonal poems begins and ends on “march 20” with a blue bird on a flowering tree branch. The poem is the same each time, too: “from a snow-covered tree / one bird singing / each tweet poking / a tiny hole / through the edge of winter / and landing carefully / balancing gently / on the tip of spring.” A little girl appears wearing the same boots, hat, and warm cozy sweater (different gloves; those always get lost!) to observe the coming spring. The girl, with straight black hair, dark eyes, and brown skin, is in most of the pictures, sometimes with other children, almost always interacting with nature. In summer she goes to the beach and appreciates the joys of a sandy picnic (“nothing in the world / could possibly be more delicious / than those plums / and those peanut butter sandwiches / a little bit salty / and warm from the sun”); makes a leaf pile in October (“because they know / they cannot stay / they fade and fall / then blow away”); and imagines herself as a snowflake. Morstad’s gouache and pencil crayon pictures and Fogliano’s poetry are delicately precise, gracefully and economically expressed, and filled with the wonder of genuine childhood experience untainted by sentimentality.

From the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke About Susan Dove Lempke

Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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