Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spring Things by Maxine Kumin & illustrated by Artur Marokvia

This is another book that has been on my shelves for ages. I have no idea where we got it, and we rarely read it. I discovered it when I was going through books to get rid of books we never read. This book was almost pitched, but I decided not to. I have mixed feelings about this book. If I saw this for sale for $5 I could probably walk past it with nary a tremor at potentially missing a fabulous vintage book. But, it didn't end up in the discard pile, so clearly there is something about it. Mostly a young kid on a farm. And spring. I really do like spring. 

The premise of the book is a young boy has a birthday. After opening his presents, his parents tell him there is a surprise coming in the spring. 

To be honest, I am not nuts about the writing. It seemed a bit... juvenile. 

Doing a little research about Maxine Kumin turned up the fact that she was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, with an impressive resume and body of work behind her. 

Huh. I guess I better not take up literary critiquing any time soon. I might mistakenly describe Shakespeare as...not timeless enough to become classics. Ha!

(Still, even if she is a Pulitzer poet, I am not enamored with the writing. Sorry.) 

The writing isn't terrible, and thinking about it, a lot of writers of the time wrote like this. It isn't completely different than some of Dr. Seuss' books. The initial Berenstain Bear books were written like this. So maybe Kumin was of the moment when she wrote this. 

I love the farm illustrations in three color printing. I always wonder how the illustrator/publisher chooses the three colors they will use. Lime green, black, and a coral-ish red. And why do they only smudge on the color here and there? Or was this just an illustrating technique and nothing to do with cost cutting publishers not wanting to publish all color picture books?

Getting some hay down

Because the boy was impatient for his final present, his father told him to find eight spring things and by the end, maybe his last present would be there. 

Bees and flowering trees.

The boy guesses that maybe he will get a lamb for his last present.

Slopping the hogs

Green things shooting through the dirt.

Kites and wind

This is one of my favorite pictures in this book.

Easter and new hats


And finally, his present! A brand new calf.

And really, maybe that is why I kept it--how can I resist a little boy so excited by a new calf?


  1. Huh. I thought the present was going to be a new brother or sister for the oblivious little boy!

    1. I totally thought it was a baby brother or sister too. Which might be part of the reason I wasn't crazy about this book. What? Just a calf? :-)