Review of If Winter Comes Tell It I'm Not Here

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here
by Simona Ciraolo; illus. by the author
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
10/20    978-1-5362-1530-4    $16.99

As a little boy sits on the side of a pool eating an ice-cream cone, his older sister informs him that he had better enjoy it, because “summer’s going to end soon.” Listening to her ominous warnings (“the days get shorter, there’s a chill in the air, and the trees lose all their leaves”) and hyperbolic predictions (“everything will be SO dull, and you’ll be SO cold [and] you’ll be stuck on the sofa for days”) causes the boy’s imagination to go to extremes, and he begins looking for signs of fall with a heavy heart. One by one, the signs come, but the new season isn’t at all what he’d envisioned. Shorter days and changing leaves bring walks with his dad among autumnal colored trees. Time “stuck on the sofa” is enjoyed tucked in between his parents for movie night. And the cold rain his sister threatened soon turns to snow, bringing the unbridled thrill of downhill sledding. Ciraolo’s pencil and watercolor illustrations are rich with dynamic facial expressions, dramatically colored imaginings, and energetic lines, all of which communicate the boy’s wide spectrum of emotions as he dreads, discovers, and finally delights in each new season. A crocus poking up through the snow on the final spread symbolizes the inevitability of change and the happiness that can be found all throughout the year.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart is a school librarian at the Percy Priest Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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