The team of Chernesky and Swan rounds out the four seasons with this look at springtime opposites (Cheers for a Dozen Ears, 2014, etc.).
Miss Ava’s class takes a field trip to a local farm to see some chicks hatch. Along the way, they experience lots of opposites, which are highlighted in the text in bold and a larger font. As in Chernesky’s other seasonal books, the verse sometimes limps along, the lines often divided for rhyme at the expense of rhythm: “ ‘The white cat’s name is Whisker Jack,’ / the farmer said. ‘And Buster’s black.’ ” Other times, the pairs chosen seem odd and don’t strictly match the illustrations: “We giggled with our field trip buddies. / The ground below our boots was muddy. / Above, a sky of cloudy gray / drizzled on our sunny day.” The sun indeed hides behind a mass of dark clouds, but in no way could this be called a sunny day, save possibly attitudes. Swan’s busy mixed-media illustrations are rich in textures, the chickens especially colorful and patterned. Aside from the new chicks and the brilliant yellow daffodils, though, this could take place in almost any season (and indeed, the corn is tall enough to be late summer), weakening the seasonal theme.
Not a strong choice for either springtime explorations or opposites, though teachers may reach for this in preparation for a farm field trip. (Picture book. 4-7)