The Year Comes Round
written by Sid Farrar; illustrated by Ilse Plume
2012 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Check out Poetry Friday at Katya's Write. Sketch. Repeat.
Check out STEM Friday for more math and science links
Surprised by her new
webbed feet, tadpole considers
a career on shore
If Sid Farrar were a baseball player, he would be in the running for rookie of the year for his debut book, The Year Comes Round. Combining seasons and poetry is a winning idea (See Red Sings From Treetops) and Farrar fulfills this promise with a set of 12 haikus that run from January to December. One of the surprising elements of these haikus is the sly humor. Snowmen root against the sun. A robin extends an invitation to an earthworm to visit her family. A tadpole considers a job change. Lawns and mowers reach a cease-fire. This is clever stuff. Haiku seems like such a simple art form to the rest of us mere mortals, but it's not. Farrar masterfully uses the form and creates thirteen (like a prize in a cereal box, there is an extra haiku behind the back matter) pieces of fun poetry. In addition, there are three informational text selections in the back matter. The first one gives an explanation of haiku. The other two selections talk about the rotation of the earth and provide a description of the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. For your first book, it's also not a bad idea to have Ilse Plume providing the artwork. Her scenes of the natural world are beautiful.
The second grade teacher in me wants to type out these haikus and have students sequence them to see what kind of order they create. This is the perfect book to introduce the form of haiku to young writers. For second or third graders, I would put together a four page booklet with one haiku for each season. Kindergarten students could use these poems for shared reading experiences while other grade levels could find the examples of personification. The Year Comes Round is an admirable debut book.