A Child’s Calendar is a gorgeous creation. The poems written by John Updike conjure the most beautiful images about each month of the year: The trees’ black lace… fat snowy footsteps… long green weeks… blue ghosts of smoke…. Each month’s personality is revealed in a few short, rhyming stanzas.
Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations rise to meet the bar Updike’s writing sets. With a combination of natural detail and colorful washes, she creates portraits of each month. Cold whites and wooden browns for January, soft yellows and pale greens for April, bright, lively greens and watery blues for June, cool lavenders and grays for November. Each setting is full of life: plants, trees, flowers, farm stands, ponds, birds, cats, dogs and people. The people on the pages are engaged in activities associated with that particular month and beg to be looked at slowly and closely.
The poems were written in 1965 and originally published with illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. This newer version was published in 1999, with a few author changes. Both illustrators are Caldecott Honor recipients. To read more about this book and see a comparison of the illustrations, you can visit the site: We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie.
I’d like to share February’s poem with you and will plan to share each month’s treasure as the month arrives. To enjoy the book in its entirety, illustrations and all, visit your local library or bookstore. Happy Reading!