October Smiled Back

Overview

Shy November looked out

with her eyes puddle-gray.

I peeked in and whispered,

"Come on...want to play?"

By personifying the months of the year, the author of this exuberant poem brings to life the capricious feelings of friendship— from children's quarrels to their flights of fancy. We see, through the eyes of a child, the way a friendship ...

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Overview

Shy November looked out

with her eyes puddle-gray.

I peeked in and whispered,

"Come on...want to play?"

By personifying the months of the year, the author of this exuberant poem brings to life the capricious feelings of friendship— from children's quarrels to their flights of fancy. We see, through the eyes of a child, the way a friendship ebbs and flows with the changing seasons.

Beautifully illustrated, pensive, and filled with boundless energy, October Smiled Back takes readers through the months of the year— and ends with a brand-new season of friendship.

Rhymes personify the months such as shy November, lazy February, frisky March, and silly May.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this subdued chronicle of a year's passage, Peters (When the Fly Flew In) depicts the months as 12 fair- and foul-weather friends. Her volume begins with the onset of winter: "Shy November looked out with her eyes puddle-gray./ I peeked in and whispered, `Come on.../ ...want to play?' " Generous December provides snow to build "a woolly white bear [with] icicle hair," but January and February are too drowsy to have fun. Peters subtly conjures the months' personalities, and she is matched well with Caldecott Medalist Young (Lon Po Po). Filling each spread with cut- and torn-paper collages, the artist uses handmade papers for pulpy textures, grainy speckles or, in the case of June's fiery dragon, a marbleized effect. Autumn features oversize silhouettes of squirrels and children's faces in profile; spring comes on with splashy greens; and summer ends with a wistful pastel sunset. The author and illustrator present nature in repose, without deep freezes or heat waves; the overall impression is of four temperate seasons. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Catherine Campbell Wright
This thoughtful and beautifully illustrated poem personifies the months of the year and brings to life the emotions and feelings they could experience. Through a child's simple narrative, Lisa Westberg Peters allows readers to converse with time. "Lazy February yawned. She was grumpy and bored. When I tickled and poked her, she stretched out and snored." Who can argue that this passage is certainly what February is all about for many of us! Each month's mood is captured effectively, and Ed Young's illustrations lend themselves perfectly to the rhythm of the poetry.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3With simple and evocative verse, this book captures the essence of the 12 months. From the "puddle-gray" eyes of November through October's star-lite nights, each month is eloquently portrayed in both words and pictures. Time and the seasons become a playmate to a child as the months progress. "July and I hardly remembered our fun/ as it faded away in the glare of the sun./ August said she'd return, but she didn't say when./I wondered if I'd ever see her again." Young's illustrations provide a visual expression equal to Peters's poem. Colored-pencil drawings on deceptively simple collages of textured and colored papers create defining moments. Each fully bled spread is a skillful balance of pattern, shape, color, and form. The unique and fleeting qualities of time and nature will ring true to children and will recall childhood experience in adults. A beautiful book for all collections.Paula A. Kiely, Milwaukee Public Library, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805017762
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/15/1996
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Westberg Peters is the author of several books for young readers, including The Sun, the Wind and the Rain.

She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and two daughters.

Ed Young is the illustrator of more than sixty picture books, including Birches, Moon Tiger, and Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac. He is also the recipient of two Caldecott Honor citations and winner of the Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po.

Mr. Young lives in upstate New York with his wife and daughter.

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