SWING AROUND THE SUN by Barbara Juster Esbensen


Age Range: 4 - 8
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This collection of seasonal poetry by the late Esbensen (The Night Rainbow, not reviewed, etc.) was previously published in the ’60s in a slightly longer length with black and white illustrations. This new edition of 20 poems uses a different artist to illustrate the poems for each of the four seasons, requiring the necessary visual adjustment to shifting artistic styles inherent in this format. In the first section, Cheng-Khee Chee chose mossy greens and grays for his springtime watercolor illustrations, with the impressionistic, misty overtones of a wet, early spring. For the summer selections, Janice Lee Porter’s acrylic paintings incorporate lush tones and curving lines to illustrate the fullness of the season in poems about a vacant lot, ripe pears, and a sudden storm. Mary GrandPré, illustrator of the American edition of the Harry Potter stories, illustrated the autumn poems in fall hues on deep-toned backgrounds that convey the spooky side of the season, concluding with a transitional poem that predicts the changes inherent in winter. Caldecott Medalist Stephen Gammell effectively captures the mood of northern winters in his bright white and deep blue paintings, with splashes of flying snowflakes. Some of the volume’s best poems celebrate the serious winters of Esbensen’s home state of Minnesota, with an eerie ode called “The Wind Woman” and a memorable final poem about a little girl walking through deep snow at night. Almost all of the short poems rhyme, but the varied and sophisticated rhyme schemes show the range of the poet’s extraordinary talent. (biographical notes, publisher note) (Poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-87614-143-2
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003


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