THE TURNING OF THE YEAR
This book on the changing faces of the months is solid Martin fare: a simple story that delights in language and word play. A short poem calls forth the character of each month: "In January, out I go/to welcome winter's icy blow." For the most part, the words and imagery are accessible, but on occasion there are more difficult words or phrases--e.g., chrysanthemum, or "the maple's raucous shout"--to keep readers alert. The book is also a paean to rural life, with harvest fields and New England villages, a hazy September meadow of wildflowers, and a pumpkin patch, all looming large and lovingly. Shed's full-page scenes of a boy and girl living this idyll fairly shout contentment, and on every text page he includes vignettes--candy corn for October, marbles and baseball cards for May, mittens for January--that add to the evocation. Along with Charlotte F. Otten's January Rides the Wind (1997), this is ripe for units on the seasons.