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A CHILL IN THE AIR by John Frank


Poems for Fall and Winter

by John Frank, illustrated by Mike Reed

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-83923-5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In simply phrased verses, nearly all previously unpublished, Frank notes in sequence autumn’s changing leaves and dropping temperatures, the appearance of snow, ice, and bitter winds, and then early signs of spring at last. Though the language sometimes turns clunky—“I ran to catch it in my hands / Before it touched the ground, / And brought it home to keep among / The treasures I have found”—there are occasional flights of imaginative imagery, plus redeeming flashes of humor, such as the suggestion that Halloween witches had better wear thermal underwear. Not so in the illustrations, though, as Reed’s leaden, sharp-looking, identically shaped leaves and stiffly posed human figures give many scenes a monotonous look, compounded on one spread by a child’s puff of breath that expands to a page-filling cloud, thus contradicting the accompanying “I see each word I speak / take flight / a whiff of fog, / then disappear.” Though there’s never enough poetry, particularly for younger audiences, this collaboration is too uneven to consider as more than a secondary choice. (Poetry. 5-7)