Grace Lin, author and illustrator
Grace Lin grew up in Upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. While the other sisters became scientists, Grace became an artist. Surprisingly enough, being an artist was not Grace's first choice. She first dreamed of being a champion ice skater, and drew many pictures of herself twirling and dancing on the ice. Unfortunately, Grace had neither the talent nor coordination to make it to skating stardom. However, the pictures she drew of herself held much promise and quickly became Grace's career focus.
Read more about Grace.
Ranida T. McKneally, author
Ranida T. McKneally is an educational writer and editor. She lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. This is her first book for children.
Read more about Ranida McKneally.
- ABC Best Books for Children
- CCBC Choices
In this intriguing combination of poetry and nonfiction, each season is given three double-spreads, containing a haiku and a science question-and-answer. In Spring, for example, "Lily hears thunder./ 'You don't have to yell' she calls./ Still, the sky grumbles." The sidebar asks, "What makes a thunderstorm?" and explains how hot air rising quickly causes the electrical buildup that results in thunder and lightning. The questions are relevant to children ("Why do I sneeze?") and the answers clear and thorough. Lin's vivid gouache illustrations and multi-ethnic characters Lily, Owen, Ki-ki and Kevin are terrifically appealing. If the haikus aren't quite to the level of Jack Prelutsky's If Not For the Cat (2004) or George Shannon's Spring (1996), that's a small quibble given that this has the potential to interest children in both poetry and science.
Less workmanlike than Gail Gibbons' The Reasons for the Seasons (1995), this attractive picture book demystifies seasonal changes in a question-and-answer format. Each spread's boldfaced head-scratcher ("Why do my cheeks turn red in the cold?"; "What makes a thunderstorm?") receives two smoothly written paragraphs of explanation; an energetic, arrestingly patterned painting featuring on of the book's four child characters; and an interpretive haiku ("Lily hears thunder/ 'You don't have to yell!' she calls./ Still, the sky grumbles"). An excellent opening and closing entry connects the earth's tilt with seasonal conditions around the world. The organization is a bit awkward. Although questions are grouped by seasons, they often apply more broadly, and some entries would have benefited from diagrams. Even so, children won't escape learning a thing or two about the processes described, and many teachers will find inspiration for language-arts projects in the haiku component.
School Library Journal
Following a brief explanation of the science behind the seasons, Lin takes readers from autumn to summer, pairing haiku verses on one page with explanations of seasonal changes on the other. For autumn, for example, the text answers the questions, "What makes the wind?"; "Why do leaves change color?"; and "Why do I see my breath?" Further pairings address frost, suntans, thunderstorms, and pollination, among others. The simple haiku provide an accessible foray into poetry for the youngest readers and, for the most part, the scientific explanations follow suit. While the initial explanation of the Earth's revolution around the sun might have benefited from a more illustrative diagram, the title ultimately delivers. The gouache illustrations have plenty of child appeal and effectively tie together the poetry and the facts. A welcome addition to any collection in need of seasonal titles.
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11