Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Embracing The Season

For too many days in May and June this year, residents in northern Michigan were probably wondering if Mother Nature had her seasons confused.  Frost advisories for several nights, cool temperatures in the morning where you could see puffs of breath, birds fluffed up to keep warm and plants and trees late to blossom and unfurl leaves.  Summer has not officially arrived yet but these seasonal oddities are reminders of the short three months until fall follows.

Earlier this spring when walking through the halls and shelves of my home away from home (the public library), a brightly covered book with a catchy alliterative title caught my eye.  Awesome Autumn:  All Kinds Of Fall Facts And Fun (Henry Holt and Company, August 2012) by Bruce Goldstone explores and explains the season.  Reading this will make you long for the equinox. 

Look around in autumn and you'll see a lot
of changes happening.  These changes take 
plants, animals, and people from the hot days
of summer to the cold days of winter.

We trade bathing suits and flip-flops for jeans and a sweatshirt.  The wearing of hats, scarves and mittens is not far behind.  We see less sun and more moon as the days shorten and the nights lengthen.

Readers are acquainted with the reason for the colorful array we see, why leaves drop from their branches and their purpose once fallen. Leaves are not alone as they cover the ground; seeds, nuts, pine cones and pods keep them company.  How many varieties of each have you found?  What of those leaves that remain green, bravely staying on the trees?  We learn their title and why.

A more scientific accounting is given for the handiwork of Jack Frost.  Certain animals gear up for long journeys to warmer climes while others dig and sleep.  Not only is the natural world preparing for the upcoming winter but people are working to bring in the fruits of their summer labors; harvesting the bounty.  

Interspersed among these informative pages are sensory discoveries; the touch, taste, shape and sound of autumn.  Crinkly leaves, crisp crunchy apples, witches hats and yard rakes, and the honking of migrating geese fill our world.  New outdoor activities come with the changing season as do the celebration of holidays and the making of crafts.  Fall has it all!

Each aspect visited by Bruce Goldstone throughout the title, clothing, the daylight versus nighttime lengths, the leaves, seeds, pods, nuts and pine cones, the use of our senses, frost, harvesting, migration, hibernation, animal adaptability with the changes, holidays and activities is brought to our attention with clarity and completeness; the length depending on his focus.  The text informs but also asks readers to question and expand their thinking.  Several pages include pictures of various types of leaves, seeds, pods, nuts and cones including identification labels.  Pictures of items associated with autumn ask readers to identify shapes.  We are shown possible handmade activities followed by easy-to-understand instructions for completion.

The entire volume is illustrated with lively, bright photographs. (Some are taken by Goldstone; all of those at the end are.) There is a playfulness to the layout and design which welcomes.  The letters on the jacket and cover are textured with leaves or made using leaves.  Those piles of leaves on the front cascade to the back, creating an orange background where leaf shapes house realistic signs of autumn.

Liberal use of white space highlights and provides a contrast to the colorful hues of the visuals.  Leaf shapes are used extensively to frame photographs.  To accentuate changes the left side of a two page spread will illustrate the before as the right side draws attention to autumn; a T-shirt is attached to a jacket, a tree in sunlight is attached to a tree at night, half of a leaf is green, the other is red, and another tree is shown with yellow leaves attached to a bare tree with snow on the ground.  Each two pages contains one or more large headlines followed by explanatory text and/or labels.  Creativity abounds!

As clean, crisp and colorful as the season itself, Awesome Autumn:  All Kinds Of Fall Facts And Fun by Bruce Goldstone is the go-to title for noting and knowing about this transition.   It's perfect for the individual reader and as a read aloud with a group; sure to prompt discussions and observations.  Without a doubt multiple copies will need to be made available.  Lucky for us I've gotten the word a new book in the series is in the works.

Follow this link to the publisher website to view eight illustrated pages from the title.


  1. This looks like a beautiful books! Beautiful covers always pull me in. :) I just found your blog via the nonfiction link up at Kid Lit Frenzy. so happy to have found you. I will be following to read more of your reviews. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Brandee. You won't be disappointed with this title. Plus I am thrilled he is working on one for winter.