Caldecott Medalist and Newbery honoree Henkes hands over the paintbrush for this ode to spring.
Recalling the central activity in his winsome Waiting (2015), Henkes’ text emphasizes patience. “If you wait, / Spring will bring / leaves and blossoms” to cover bare winter branches. “If you wait, Spring will make” snow melt to nothingness (eventually) and turn brown grass green. A read-aloud dream, the meticulous text catalogs Spring’s awakenings and its characteristic weather. “I hope you like umbrellas,” the narrator dryly advises before also acknowledging that Spring “changes its mind a lot,” as the drooping, snow-covered daffodils attest. As the season advances, the text grows giddy with alliteration and syllabic bounce: “There will be buds / and bees / and boots / and bubbles.” Dronzek’s thick-lined, bright acrylics are as simultaneously wry and joyous as the text. Readers will chuckle at the slowly melting snowman reduced to sticks and pieces of coal over five vignettes, and they will thoroughly luxuriate in highly saturated double-page spreads bursting with flowers and color (and kittens!). A towheaded child and a brunette older sibling, both white, also feel the joy. A final medallion showing three kittens amid strawberry plants teasingly reminds readers that the waiting’s not over: “Now, you have to wait for Summer”; endpapers tantalize with fireworks, Popsicles, and flip-flops.
Henkes and Dronzek make waiting almost as much fun—if not more so—than the payoff. (Picture book. 4-8)