Kirkus Reviews QR Code
IN THE MIDDLE OF FALL by Kevin Henkes Kirkus Star


by Kevin Henkes ; illustrated by Laura Dronzek

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-06-257311-7
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Author-illustrator duo Henkes and Dronzek extol the quiet splendors of autumn in this lyrical, exquisite complement to their previous seasonal outing, When Spring Comes (2016).

Its crown full of reddish-orange leaves, a tree stands against a gray sky. “In the middle of Fall, / when the leaves / have already turned,” the narrator begins. Measured and understated, Henkes’ text masterfully raises and stirs moods and sensations in pieces, each building on top of the other. A fair-skinned child in a red hooded sweatshirt and yellow boots sits on a swing, a brown dog sitting on the ground nearby. Squirrels scurry about, gardens wither, and pumpkins “are ready” as various children pluck them off the ground. All it takes is “just one big gust of wind,” says the wistful narrator, and suddenly “everything is yellow / and red / and orange.” Solid lines and deep autumnal colors abound in Dronzek’s gorgeous acrylic illustrations, which fill the spaces left untouched by the text. In pace and richness, text and pictures dreamily embody the essence of fall, which in this book marks a transition both bittersweet and inevitable. Enjoy the child and dog at play throughout these autumn landscapes, because before either of them knows it (and perhaps before readers realize it as well), change will come again.

A touching portrait of the fall season from two superb artists.

(Picture book. 4-8)