PICTURE/POETRY BOOK REVIEW: When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano


december 29
and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes

Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.


I decided to read this book after hearing it praised on Heavy Medal, the School Library Journal blog that discusses the Newbery Medal and its contenders.  I wanted to see if I felt the same as the others who had praised the book.  I am very happy to say that I do feel the same way.  The book is gorgeous both in language and art.  I've rarely seen a book that fits together so beautifully.  The poems start with spring, travel through summer and fall, take the reader through winter and back to spring.  The language is so evocative and beautiful I even read it out loud to myself just to hear how it sounded.  This is a book that works well on so many levels.  The language makes for a great exercise in the power of visualization and description.  Combining the art and the words would make for delicious conversations about blending the vision of both author and illustrator.  And the size and design of the book work so well, perfect in terms of child-size hands.  I think my favorite poem was the pumpkin one for October 31.  Half of the poem is made up of the word pumpkin.  Here is a selection:

pumpkin sprout
pumpkin shoot
pumpkin leaf
pumpkin root

pumpkin vine
pumpkin growing
pumpkin wander
pumpkin going

The whole poem takes the pumpkin from seed through the growth cycle and back to seed.  Truly a worthy Newbery contender from my point of view.


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