From this well-known mother-and-daughter anthologist duo (Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies, 2009, etc.) comes another rich compendium of occasional poems loosely chronicling the months and holidays.
The 100-plus favorite poems and song lyrics expressing more or less seasonal themes are surrounded here by ravishing illustrations from Caldecott honoree Priceman (Hot Air, 2005, etc.). Visually, one couldn’t ask for more: The exuberance of color and line in these spirited gouache spreads radiates warmth, vibrancy, and fun. The sophisticated collection espouses a celebration of multicultural diversity and includes gems by the likes of Emily Dickinson, John Updike, E.B. White, Jenny Whitehead, Cole Porter and many others. Andrews and Hamilton ferret out both age-old favorites marking religious and public holidays as well as timeless works simply capturing a change of season, like Sara Teasdale’s tense “April.” The recurrent themes of cultural awareness and inclusivity especially come across in Andrews’ own poems, such as “Flags,” in which she rhetorically asks: “Why do we salute a flag, / A vibrant, colorful piece of rag? […] Why not celebrate the globe, / Become a flag, and wear a robe / Of purest crimson? Convey to the world / We are all flags—and fly unfurled.” Given this celebration of inclusion, it’s a pity that the frontispiece, an abridged version of Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done,” concludes with a simile that, sadly, draws on 19th-century stereotypes of Arabs.
Opening oversight aside, a thoughtful and visually arresting trove of seasonal verse. (Poetry. 6 & up)