When Green Becomes Tomatoes: A (Poetically Speaking) Chick Lit Wednesday Review

april 27

today

under a magnolia tree

i ran into a dachsund named paul

he was very much a sausage

with paws

and a nose

poor paul

if only he would look up

for a second

and notice the magnolias

with their pink

and their white

and their gentle flutters

he would soon realize

that it’s not so bad

to be a dog

tied to a tree

in the shade

when it’s springtime

and fluttering

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano and Julie MorstadIn When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons (2016) Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad, presents meditative poems set over the course of one year starting on March 20 when spring arrives. From there the poems follow winter’s retreat, the blooming of springtime flowers, beachy summer adventures, the crisp start of new days and falling leaves every autumn, all the way through winter’s pristine quiet. The collection concludes by circling back to March 20 with the initial poem appearing again the same way spring returns each year.

Each of Fogliano’s poem is titled with the date so that the book reads as a series of fun calendar entries. The poems are free verse and don’t rhyme. The variety of lengths, structures, and forms played with in When Green Becomes Tomatoes offer excellent examples of everything that poetry can do when used by a talented writer. The poems’ lack of punctuation and capital letters also bring the poetry of ee cummings to mind.

Fogliano’s poems are accompanied by illustrations from Julie Morstad bring the wonders to be found in each season to life. Morstad’s illustrations are populated with a variety of animals including paul the dachshund and the first bird of spring. The artwork in When Green Becomes Tomatoes also includes a diverse group of children enjoying what the each new season has to offer. A variety of pull page spreads, double page spreads, and smaller vignettes add variety to Morstad’s colorful illustrations and bring movement to each page.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes is a stellar addition to any poetry collection. Introspective poetry and finely detailed illustrations make this a book to savor. Readers are sure to find more to enjoy each time they sit down with this charming title. Highly recommended.

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