2016 in [Book] Review Award-Winning Books Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] A Lyrical Tribute to the Passing of the Seasons in “When Green Becomes Tomatoes”

poetry friday

Myra here.

I am glad to be joining the Poetry Friday community once again this week, hosted by poet-teacher-blogger Heidi Mordhorst of My Juicy Little Universe.


We are concluding our current reading theme today on the best of the best in 2016 books. So I thought it would be fitting to conclude with this gorgeous book of patience, quiet, and waiting.


When Green Becomes Tomatoes

Poems by: Julie Fogliano Illustrated by: Julie Morstad
Published by: A Neal Porter Book, 2016
ISBN: 0385753977 (ISBN13: 9780385753975). Literary Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2016). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book Photos taken by me. 

One of my favourite poetry books of all time is Red Sings From Treetops: A Year In Colors by Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski, winner of the 2009 Poetry Category in Cybils. So it was with a measure of trepidation but still with a great deal of excitement that I borrowed this book from the library. I was taken with Fogliano and Morstad’s collaboration in and then it’s spring and if you want to see a whale so I was pretty excited about this book.


The book reads more like a poetic diary written throughout the year, especially since each poem is marked by specific dates rather than an actual title. I also found a few poems sounding remarkably like e. e. cummings, except that they are more accessible and less esoteric.


It inspired me, actually, to capture in a few lines or so, how the weather on a singular day has made me feel: with the squelching mud, or the bleak gray, and the quiet white – making me think of this as a perfect mentor text. There is also such a complement between verse and image that I feel Fogliano and Morstad have successfully perfected the seamlessness of their creative energies that one is hard put to figure out where one begins and the other ends.

While I enjoyed reading aloud all the poems, there are two that stood out for me, which I would like to share with you, Poetry Friday friends. Here they are:


There is something about lost things that appeal to me, and glowing love, and whispered thanks in the boundaries of drifting and dreaming.

And here is another one:


There is a recurrent theme of waiting, patience, and quiet that Julie Morstad and Julie Fogliano fully capture in all of their published collaborations. The quiet anticipating hum of something to come. Read this book and be filled with that sense of the world moving and arriving at your doorstep.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

11 comments on “[Poetry Friday] A Lyrical Tribute to the Passing of the Seasons in “When Green Becomes Tomatoes”

  1. I always adore Julie Morstad’s illustrations, she has such an elegant and distinctive style.


  2. What a beautiful book, Myra. Thanks for sharing.


  3. lindabaie

    I bought it immediately and knew I would love it just as you’ve written, with the close collaboration of words and pictures. It’s just right, isn’t it? Nice to read what you think, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Definitely one of my 2016 favorites! You capture those dreamy and patient qualities well in this blog post, Myra.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this book — definitely one of my favorites from last year. I agree with you about Red Sings from Treetops, too. Both are such lyrical gems.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. maryleehahn

    The other thing I love about this book (besides the poetry!!) is the incidental diversity in the illustrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Myra, thanks for sharing this rich poetry book filled with lovely art, I’ve been wanting to look it over myself!


  8. What a beautiful collection, Myra – another book suggested by you that I am yearning to read!


  9. Thank you, Myra–I keep seeing this book and snippets of it and wondering why I’ve not managed to get my hands on it yet! Yes, what a light touch, what a gentle patience these poems have, with something also arriving in each one. Thanks for joining today!


  10. This sounds lovely. I am writing the title and author/illustrator to order from the library. Thanks for a heartfelt review!


  11. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] My 2017 in Books, Reading Stats, and Best Books Read in 2017 Across Genres – Gathering Books

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