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A Child's Calendar

A Child's Calendar

4.6 3
by John Updike, Trina Schart Hyman (Illustrator)

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Twelve poems follow a family and their friends through the seasons. A Caldecott Honor Book.


Twelve poems follow a family and their friends through the seasons. A Caldecott Honor Book.

Editorial Reviews

Sesame Street Parents
A Child's Calendaris a great way to introduce your child to the rewards of reading poetry.
Mailbox Bookbag
Thus begins this revised and strikingly reillustrated book, first published in 1965. Updike's graphic text is a mental feast for young and old. Hyman's illustrations, homey and rich, follow one family and its pets through the seasons. New details catch the eye with every read. Be it words or pictures, each student will relate to at least something in this handsome offering.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
letter day for poetry lovers. Each month receives its due in shiveringly lovely verse while Hyman's brightly populated watercolors trace the corresponding activities of a lively Vermont family. The interplay of text and art has both depth and beauty. The language and illustrations are not merely pretty or ornamentally descriptive, but vibrantly alive--enough to keep young readers occupied through more than one reading. Crisp images from the poems are amplified or buried like treasures in the artwork. In March, "Pale crocuses/ Poke through the ground/ Like noses come/ To sniff around," while the family is pictured tending the sheep that likewise burrow their noses into waiting hands. Familiar things are made new with the grace and freshness of Updike's simple and accessible imagery. In June, for example, "The live-long light/ Is like a dream,/ And freckles come/ Like flies to cream." A breathtaking book that will unfold the world to new readers: "each flower, leaf,/ And blade of turf--/ Small love-notes sent/ From air to earth." Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The striking and inviting cover depicts a cloudy gray sky and a snow covered New England landscape with young children poised at the top of a hill, sled at the ready. Inside are a series of pictures showing two neighboring families throughout the months. Starting with the short and frozen days of January, moving through the golden days of June to snowy days of December, Updike's poems paint their own pictures of the year. They are simple and lyrical--the type of poems that kids can enjoy. They celebrate the ordinary, but his choice of words to create the images are anything but ordinary. In "March" to illustrate, "Pale crocuses / Poke through the ground / Like noses come / To sniff around." The illustration convey another more subtle message. The neighboring families are of different races and they are shown living in complete harmony. It is a very pleasant package of poems originally published in 1965 and reissued with slight modifications and all new art by Hyman. 1999 (orig.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
A poem and painting to celebrate each month is a perfect opening for this new century. A Child's Calendar reveals the daily life of Ms. Hyman's family who lives in rural New Hampshire. The snowy landscape is inviting even to this sun-loving reviewer. Updike's poems are easy to learn--"the days are short, /The sun a spark/Hung thin between /The dark and dark." The July picnic invites family and pets to join in the fun as "We celebrate/Our national/Independence date." By the time Christmas appears, the reader feels a kinship with this loving multi-cultural family.
Library Journal
Gr 1-5-A year in New England as seen through a child-focused lens. Month by month, season by season, the poet's words and the expressive paintings create images that are reflective and playful, perceptive and pleasing. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-John Updike reads each of his 12 poems celebrating everyday life month by month (Holiday House, 1999) at a deliberate, measured pace. Background music plays lightly, changing with each piece to reflect the season, month, holiday, etc. that is being presented. Appropriate sound effects such as crunching snow and geese honking add texture to the even reading. The accompanying book features colorful watercolor illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman portraying the activities of a multiracial Vermont family. The slow-paced narration has little inflection and may not hold the interest of the youngest children. This read-along is a good way to introduce poetry and teach the months of the year.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Updike has revised a set of 12 short poems, one per month, first published in 1965, and Hyman's busy, finely detailed scenes replace the original edition's illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. The verses are written in a child's voice—"The chickadees/Grow plump on seed/That Mother pours/Where they can feed"—and commemorate seasonal weather, flowers, food, and holidays. In the paintings a multiracial, all-ages cast does the same in comfortable, semi-rural New England surroundings, sitting at a table cutting out paper hearts, wading through reeds with a net under a frog's watchful eye, picnicking, contemplating a leafless tree outside for "November" and a decorated one inside for "December." The thoughts and language are slightly elevated but not beyond the ken of children, and the pictures enrich the poetry with specific, often amusing, incidents. (Poetry. 6-10)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Caldecott Honor Book Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.46(w) x 9.14(h) x 0.10(d)
NP (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Trina Schart Hyman was born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended the Philadelphia College of Art, the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and the School for Applied Art in Stockholm, Sweden. She has illustrated more than one hundred books for children. Her work has received the Caldecott Medal, Caldecott Honor awards, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. She lives in New Hampshire.

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and studied at Harvard College and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England. The author of more than forty books, his works include collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 18, 1932
Date of Death:
January 27, 2009
Place of Birth:
Shillington, Pennsylvania
Place of Death:
Beverly Farms, MA
A.B. in English, Harvard University, 1954; also studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England

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Child's Calendar 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Today, many children only know about poetry from Dr. Seuss. A Child's Calendar is a rich introduction to the imagery of poetry that has entranced all who listen since the days of wandering story tellers and shamen. In this volume, classic New England situations and events are beautifully illustrated in warm, heavily inked water colors showing beautiful brown and pink faces amid nature's wonders. Although no one would buy this volume solely for the poetry, the resulting book of illustrated verses makes for the raw material for a garden of happy memories tended by reading to your child (or grandchild) and listening while she or he learns to read to you. Each month is featured, beginning with January, with a brief poem and two beautiful illustrations spread over two pages. The illustrations are clearly well deserving of the Caldecott Honor. I found some of the imagery particularly meaningful, and these lines are included below: January -- 'The sun a spark/Hung thin between/The dark and dark.' February -- 'And snapping, snipping/Scissors run/To cut out hearts.' March -- 'The timid earth/Decides to thaw.' April -- 'All things renew./All things begin.' May -- 'And Daddy may/Get out his hoe/To plant tomatoes/In a row.' June -- 'In golden hours,/Silver days.' July -- 'Bang-bang! Ka-boom!' August -- 'The pavement wears/Popsicle stains.' September -- 'The breezes taste of apple peel.' October -- 'Frost bites the lawn.' November -- 'The ground is hard,/As hard as stone.' December -- 'We were fat penguins,/Warm and stiff.' The subjects of sun, earth, plants, animals, and change recur in almost each poem. One of the charms of this book is that it makes the harsh weather interesting and appealing, helping a child understand the balanced nature of the year and his or her role in that balance. For someone who lives in a warm climate year round this book will seem very magical. After you have finished enjoying the book, I suggest that you and your child partner discuss other cycles that she or he has noticed. You could talk about the daily cycle of the sun, the monthly cycle of the moon, the twice daily tides, or even three meals a day. Young people often have trouble developing a perception of context for what is going on around them. This book an
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Saw this at school when subbing and ordered it for grandsons ages 17 months and four. Hope it will be a joy to them as it was for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago