Giving voice to wonders great and small, Portis (Hey, Water!) crafts short poems about natural things and events encountered over the course of a summer day: a tadpole, thunder, an inchworm, mud. Each voice poses a provocative, lyrical riddle answered through the turn of a page: “Morning lays me on your pillow,/ an invitation, square and warm./ Come out and play!” An envelope? No. The page turn reveals a patch of sunlight, dense with shadows of leaves and branches, falling across a sleeping child’s dark braid. Textures abound: “I’m a candy sucked smooth/ in the river’s mouth./ Let me sweeten your pocket” reveals a piebald pebble. A veined leaf duplicates a tree’s silhouette, fuzzy tendrils trail from a passing cloud, and starry night falls, “a black coat/ slipped around/ Earth’s shoulders.” The power of Portis’s poems, and the surprise each page turn allows, lets readers experience familiar moments with awakened senses, offering them nothing less than a new world filled with fresh experiences. Ages 3–7. Agent: Deborah Warren, East/West Literary. (Apr.)
"This poetic conversation with nature over the course of a new green day is friendly and familiar and fresh and surprising, and Portis’s evocative illustrations made with sumi ink, vine charcoal and leaf prints are as elegant and perfectly composed as a snail."—The New York Times
★ "The power of Portis’s poems, and the surprise each page turn allows, lets readers experience familiar moments with awakened senses, offering them nothing less than a new world filled with fresh experiences."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "A playful, thoroughly captivating guessing game for young listeners." —The Horn Book, Starred Review
★ "ever-so-satisfying . . . In its reverence for each finely described detail, A New Green Day holds a magnifying glass to the wonders, big and small, that are waiting in nature for all to enjoy."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"Portis’ engaging offering is a lyrical guessing-game tribute to summer and a few of its unique features."—Booklist
"Mixed-media art involving brush and ink, hand-stamping, and charcoal has digital smoothness, balance, and an elemental feel as each small page focuses tightly on its subject . . . a graceful lyrical readaloud." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Very young children will love reading along with adults, who can help them make sense of the sometimes-abstract hints; older kids will have fun making guesses on their own. . . . Simple, poetic, and fun."—Kirkus Reviews
Gr 2–4—In Portis's latest nonfiction picture book, a nameless girl is awoken by the sun streaming through her window. The narrative then focuses on the everyday happenings of the natural world. Throughout the book, children are shown engaging in physical activities. They peek into ponds, squish their toes in the mud, and play in the rain. By spotlighting the small details of a child's experience, Portis showcases the power of wonder and curiosity. This book would be excellent for lessons introducing poetry, especially to support discussions regarding metaphor and poetic form. Each text-only page provides a new stanza about a child's environment. The subsequent page identifies the subject of the previous stanza. The stanzas are short, making this book appropriate for younger children as well as older ones. Overall, the book is dazzling. The use of long lines and beautifully flowing language sustains a calm pace and creates a soft tone. The simple illustrations appear to be painted with broad brush strokes. Muted colors harmonize with the language. Some of the illustrations appear to be leaf pressings, which could inspire an engaging project for classrooms. VERDICT A stunning picture book that depicts children exploring the outside world. An excellent resource for teaching poetry, inference, and prediction. Highly recommended for elementary collections.—Christina Salazar, Mesquite I.S.D., TX
In a series of nature riddles that beg to be read aloud, a child finds joy and wonder in the great outdoors.
Prolific author and illustrator Portis leads readers through a summer day spent outside. Through gentle, brain-teasing verse, aspects of the natural world introduce themselves to the story’s only human character, who sports dark pigtails and a warm brown complexion. As readers follow along, they too are treated to a delightful guessing game: Based on the poetically brief clues, what everyday plant, animal, or weather pattern is calling out to be discovered by the protagonist? For example: “I’m a mountain that moves. Look, I come to you,” one clue begins. With the turn of the page, the natural element’s identity is revealed with the simple completion of the sentence: “says cloud,” here accompanied by a breezy, textured illustration of an overcast sky. Because the answer to each riddle is declared on the subsequent spread, readers have a chance to brainstorm as they approach each intimation. Though this formula carries throughout the text, the book remains straightforward and engaging thanks to Portis’ fresh take on familiar outdoor sights. Very young children will love reading along with adults, who can help them make sense of the sometimes-abstract hints; older kids will have fun making guesses on their own. This sweet celebration of summertime, nature, and youthful curiosity is a worthy addition to school and public libraries and personal collections alike.
Simple, poetic, and fun. (Picture book. 4-9)