John Updike's A Child's Calendar
illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A poem for each month of the year
The poetically inclined are in for a treat as John Updike shares a bite-sized poem to commemorate every month.
The poems are short (four or five rhyming couplets each) but loaded with observation and detail, as one might expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author of books for grown-ups.
Here's an excerpt from March:
The mud smells happy
On our shoes.
We still wear mittens,
Which we lose.
And heck, here's another for you. See if you can guess Updike's month:
The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.
And yet the world,
Displays a certain
First published in 1965, A Child's Calendar was reissued in 1999 with new illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, and it's this version which merited a Caldecott Honor for illustration.
Hyman features a biracial family in a rural (hints of Vermont) setting with a whiff of bygone days. It all feels normal and inclusive - the Christmas tree ornamentation even includes a Jewish star. Previous editions feel a little pale (pun not entirely unintended) in comparison.
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