Using the same pattern and format as their Abracadabra, It’s Spring! (2016), O’Brien and Gal return to celebrate autumn.
“Summer days begin to cool. / Alakazam! // It’s time for school.” Two children, a brown child with fabulous, kinky hair and a white child with red pigtails, carry inner tubes up from the dock and wave to a younger white child sitting on a swing under a tree with leaves turning to red; when the gatefold’s opened, both are lined up to board the school bus along with other kids, including a brown child in a wheelchair. Milkweed pods dry and burst; Canada geese begin their migration; green leaves turn brilliant scarlet and then fall to the ground; squirrels gather nuts while children gather apples and pumpkins; chipmunks curl up in their burrows while children put on their hats and sweaters. The whole joyous celebration culminates in a hayride with the happy group of multiracial children seen on previous pages all piled in. As in the previous book, O’Brien’s rhymes and rhythms stick every landing; also as in the previous book, it stutters sequentially at one point, returning readers to a mostly green landscape after showing several images dominated by rusts and ochers. Gal’s smudgy illustrations, a technology-spanning combination of charcoal on paper and digital collage, glory in the golds, crimsons, and russets of fall, adding contrasting blues and greens for extra pop.
A buoyant welcome to the season. (Picture book. 3-5)