Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

Julie Fogliano
Illustrator:  Julie Morstad 
For ages 6 to 8
Roaring Brook Press, 2016   ISBN: 978-1596438521

We live in a world where we are constantly being told that we need this thing or that thing to be happy and to feel fulfilled. The truth of the matter is that often the things that truly make us happy are the simple ones, the ones that are all around us and often free for the taking: seeing the first daffodil in spring, tasting the first bite of summer watermelon, jumping in a pile of leaves in the fall, and watching the snow fall in winter. These are seasonal gifts that are both priceless and precious.

In this wonderful poetry collection Julie Fogliano brings us delightful little poems that are paired with expressive illustrations to take us through the year a season at a time. We begin in spring when a bird perching on a snow-covered tree branch starts to sing, “each tweet poking / a tiny hole / through the edge of winter.” Another messenger of spring is a little crocus “a tiny, blue hello” that sends its little blossoms up through the snow.

In summer we have “a day that drips / hot and thick like honey,” and on that day the narrator will find respite from the heat by swimming in the river. Summer is the season of fireflies, ripening tomatoes, and picnics on the beach, where plums and peanut butter sandwiches are “a little bit salty / and warm from the sun.”

No matter how much we love “sunshine and swimming and sea / and strawberries,” when September arrives many of us are eager to “move on / to something that’s new.” This is the time when we wait for sweater weather, “when notebooks are new” and when leaf jumping is around the corner.

Then in December, we wake up one morning to see that the first snow has fallen; “just like magic” it has arrived “on tiptoes / overnight.” Under a canopy of snow, pretty trees become stunning and things that we would consider unattractive are “suddenly beautiful / with snow on top.”

Though minimalist in nature, the poems in this collection are rich with emotion and imagery.