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Review of Spring for Sophie

waber_spring for sophieSpring for Sophie
by Yael Werber; illus. by Jen Hill
Preschool, Primary    Wiseman/Simon    32 pp.
2/17    978-1-4814-5134-5    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5135-2    $10.99

In the middle of winter (a snowy, northern, rural winter), Sophie is ready for spring. She wonders when it will arrive and how she will know it is coming. Her mother tells her to listen for it. “When you hear the birds start to sing their songs to each other, that’s when you’ll know spring is coming. That’s what spring sounds like.” The gouache illustrations capture the intensity of Sophie’s listening: all through her daily activities, her head is cocked to one side; she’s concentrating. Eventually, she hears the first chirps, but it’s still cold and snowy. So her parents tell her to use her other senses to follow spring’s progress: she feels the changes in the frozen ground with her feet; sees the world gradually turn from white to green; smells the air. But in the end it’s Sophie herself who decides when spring has finally arrived: she runs outside and catches raindrops on her tongue. “Now I know spring is here…Because this is what spring tastes like!” The book progresses nicely through the change in seasons; double-page spreads of the landscape vary with pages of more action-filled vignettes. The happy busy-ness of a small child’s world — making paper snowflakes, reading, fetching the mail, playing with the family dog — is the secondary story here, recalling the child-centered picture books of Charlotte Zolotow or Eve Rice.

From the March/April 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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