Four Seasons Make a Year
Author: Anne Rockwell; Illustrator: Megan Halsey
Pages: 32
Publisher/Date: Walker & Company/2004
ISBN: 0802788858
Age Levels: 4-8

Book Review

This appealing story is set on a farm, somewhere in the northeastern part of the United States. The narrator is a young girl. Through her, we are offered a child's-eye-view of all the changes that take place during each of the four seasons.

In spring, she tells us, "Winds blow and birds sing. Daffodils and crocuses pop up through melting snow to bloom in the dark, wet earth." The pear tree that stands in her front yard is bursting with white blossoms. By her back door she plants one sunflower seed. Will it grow?

Indeed it does. In summer we find the farm's trees covered with leaves and the roses blooming. The pear's blossoms have turned to "tiny green pears." When summer is at its peak, it seems as if the whole farm has burst into bloom. Zinnias, black-eyed Susans, and green stalks of corn fill the pages with color. On one double-paged spread, you must turn the book sideways to view the little girl standing next to the now-tall sunflower.

Fall arrives on September twenty-first. Pumpkins dot the fields. "The bees and butterflies are gone," the little girls says. "Many birds fly away, too." The pears hang heavy on the tree, "ripe, sweet, and juicy."

When winter comes we find the farm covered in snow. The little girl is delighted when the radio announcer tells listeners that school has been cancelled. She hurries outside to scatter sunflower seeds for the cardinals and chickadees. "Under the blanket of snow, everything that grows in the earth is having a long winter rest. But I'm not!" she tells us. Indeed she isn't, for we find her building a huge snowman, complete with a carrot nose and eyes of coal.

This is an excellent title for your classroom library. It works as wonderfully as a read-aloud as it does for independent reading. The writing is lively and engaging. The illustrations are a perfect fit with the text and done in mixed media. Halsey uses acrylic paints and torn papers to great effect. She inventively uses pieces of The Old Farmer's Almanac on the panels behind the text.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis

About the Author

Anne Rockwell is the author of One Bean and Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night. She also wrote and illustrated Welcome to Kindergarten. Ms. Rockwell lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

About the Illustrator

Megan Halsey has illustrated several children's books, and her work has been described by Kirkus Review as "trompe l'oeil marvels." She collaborated with Anne Rockwell on One Bean and Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night for Walker & Company. Megan lives in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.