It's Here! And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano
FIRST YOU HAVE BROWN,
ALL AROUND YOU HAVE BROWN.
Snowscapes may be stunning, but when the white stuff melts, what remains is drab--brown mud and dour dirt, gray skies and grayer trees, and the human heart cries out for relief.
Into such a scene comes a small boy, hopefully hauling his little red wagon loaded with gardening gear, trailed by two friends, a rabbit and a turtle. He plants his seed packets in brown heaps, admires his work, and then settles down to wait--and wait--and wait.
In bright galoshes, under his red umbrella, he watches the rain fall on the still brown earth. Blue puddles reflect a blue sky, though, and he feels that maybe something is changing.
A red cardinal appears on the still bare tree, but no hopeful green seedlings are showing, and the boy has a sad thought. What if the visiting birds are eating his seeds? He hangs milk-carton bird feeders to spare his seeds--and waits--and waits--and waits.
Weeks pass, and although the boy finds nothing alive in his garden except a wiggly brown worm, the reader sees hopeful signs. Bluebirds appear. There is sun and the boy puts his ear to the ground to see if he can hear his seeds stirring.
AND A SUNNY DAY RIGHT AFTER THAT RAINY DAY,
YOU WALK OUTSIDE TO CHECK ON ALL THAT BROWN.
BUT THE BROWN ISN'T AROUND,
AND NOW YOU HAVE GREEN, ALL AROUND.
Patience and persistance pay off in Julie Fogliano's And Then It's Spring (Roaring Brook, 2012). Artist Erin Steed, Caldecott Medalist for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, provides strong pencil and block printed illustrations which practically tell this spring story on their own, showing that Mother Nature know what she's doing as the seasons turn.