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A Child's Calendar

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  786 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Twelve poems follow a family and their friends through the seasons. A Caldecott Honor Book.
Paperback, (Caldecott Honor Book), 32 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Holiday House (first published October 12th 1965)
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Shanna Gonzalez
Oct 16, 2010 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-04-08
This collection of modern-day poems convey the experiences of one year, with one poem for each month. Written skillfully in a gentle rhyming rhythm, and full of tactile, aesthetic details that will resonate with children, this is a fine way to observe the turning of the calendar's pages. Some children have difficulty with the compressed meaning of well-written poetry, but Trina Schart Hyman's award-winning artwork helps supply visual interest while interpreting the poetry so that younger listene ...more
Jonathan Peto
Dec 03, 2012 Jonathan Peto rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The poems in this book are simple and charming. They depict a traditional or stereotypical vision of New England. If you have a childhood connection to that region, they may evoke sentimental feelings, either good or bad, perhaps depending on your viewpoint.

Updike used a variety of poetic techniques, so the book is useful for introducing them to children.

A poem for each month. The passing of seasons. Beautiful and satisfying.
Kirah Marshall
Sep 09, 2016 Kirah Marshall rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summaries
1. This is a poetry book focused on the months within a Calendar year. Each month has it's own unique poem that encompasses what happens in each month. For example, in February, it mentions there is snow still and the children make Valentines, in July, they watch fireworks, in November, they celebrate Thanksgiving, etc.
2. Appropriate grade level for this book would be 2-5. It has some advanced works, so an independent reader could read it, but may have some questions about some vocabulary and h
My version sadly did not have the lovely book jacket cover. I had to get an interlibrary loan of this book because the only version they had in my public library was a braille edition. I loved this book! The poems were great and short, and the illustrations were fabulous. The book was originally published in 1965 by the same author but different illustrator (Nancy Ekholm Burkert who was a Caldecott Honor recipient and also the original illustrator of "James and the Giant Peach"). This one won a ...more
Rachel Hancock
Feb 14, 2012 Rachel Hancock rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"A Child's Calendar" by John Updike is a nice collection of poems about each month of the year. In the book, Updike goes through every month and shares a little about it and describes it in a poem. The poems are very child-friendly and are fun to read aloud. Additionally, they point out the "highlights" of each month and say something positive about each one.

The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are phenomenal and certainly enhance the book. I loved the way she captured the author's descriptio
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
A Poem for each month. The collection describes each month through poems. Simple and easy read with illustrations. Those who like poetry go for this mostly suitable to children.
Apr 25, 2015 Xinxin rated it it was amazing
This is a Caldecott Honor book.
It is hard to give poem a clear definition but we all can judge which poem is good.
It must “consist of rhyme, rhythm, and clever sound”, but also it should “think about things and express ideas in fresh ways”, and it needs to be capable of “creating word pictures and images that make readers feel joyful or sad or contemplative or inspired". In this meaning, the poetry book of A child’s calendar is a collection of 12 good poems.
From the short, frozen days of January
Erin Reda
Nov 04, 2014 Erin Reda rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A Child's Calendar has a month for each page of the book starting in January and ending in December. On each page there is a poem that correlates to the month of the year. On one page is the full page illustration with no words on that page. On the page next to it is the poem on a white background with a little picture above, below or on the side of the poem. The picture depicts what that month of the year is like. The illustrations in this book are great. Some of my favorite illustration pages ...more
Robert Bason
This is the TRUE first edition of this book (Knopf, 1965) with the lovely (and sort of eerie) illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert (who also did James and the Giant Peach for Knopf). It's an early Updike, I suppose written when his children were little. One poem for each month of the year (AB AB AB AB). It's fairly nostalgic for me, because I now live in California and my months don't include things such as "First snow" and "the marching of the Legion band". But I remember those things from Iow ...more
Cassandra Kneblik
Oct 21, 2014 Cassandra Kneblik rated it liked it
Through the course of a year, a young boy poetically shares his personal experiences that capture the defining events or moments within each month of the year. Beginning with January, the young boy encounters the thickening snow, to the planting of flowers in April and the summer frog hunts of June, to the thankfulness of a wonderful year into December. Not all of these events are universal experiences we can all relate to, but sacred moments that this young boy finds unique to his family alone. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M.M. Hudson
Jan 21, 2015 M.M. Hudson rated it it was amazing
This book is set in poetic form to describe each month. The words visually describe the months so well that it is almost perfection. The author allows for the reader to step into a month as if standing and looking at a picture postcard.

The illustrations that are coupled with this book are done beautifully too which only adds to the already well written book. They are visually stunning with bright colors. The children depicted in each page helps readers to see themselves doing the different acti
Jodie Greene
Apr 29, 2014 Jodie Greene rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a book of poems that is meant to be read aloud by two readers. One reader takes the right part, one reader takes the left part, when the parts are on the same line, they are read together. A note at the beginning says, “the poems should be read from top to bottom, the two parts meshing as in a musical duet.” The book contains 14 poems about different insects ranging from grasshoppers to honeybees. The pages are filled with detailed black a white illustrations.

I recommend this book for gr
Becky B
A picture book through the seasons of the average US state with accompanying poems for each month.

I really like the poetry of Updike in this book. I'd be curious to know what was changed between the original 1965 version and this 1999 version (inside the cover it says it was changed extensively). I can see these as being good selections for elementary students to memorize. Hyman's art is beautiful and I like how she made it multicultural as well. See the content note below before reading it alou
Samantha Penrose
My five year old and I enjoyed the illustrations, but I think that the poetry went over his head. I would recommend this to an older child (8 - 10) or even just an adult reminiscing about their own childhood.
Jan 09, 2009 Luann rated it liked it
A book of nice enough poems - one for each month - with accompanying illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. The August picture (featuring a naked baby at the beach) makes me laugh every time I read the book. So cute!
Feb 07, 2015 Blair rated it really liked it
I really liked this book because it communicated the months of the year in a fun way. In this book, there is a poem for each month along with an illustration. I liked that his writing style was in poetry for this book. It made it more interactive and more exciting to learn the months of the year in a fashion other than simple reading. The theme of this book is teaching children to learn the months of the year and what comes along with each month. For a classroom activity, the students were given ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Haley rated it it was amazing
This book has a poem on each page that focuses on each month throughout the year. I love the way they describe each of the months with details about the weather and activities that take place during that month. I could see myself using the poems throughout the entire year to help us talk about the months. I could even see it being used as a writing lesson where students would be asked to write their own poem focusing on what they think are the important parts about each month. The illustrations ...more
Kristin Carney
Nov 06, 2014 Kristin Carney rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I had mixed feelings about this book. I guess its because its poetry and for children I feel it might be hard to understand at times. There are some parts in the book where the poet jumps around topics and I think that's where most children will get lost. I do like how the poet made sure if there was important holidays in the month that they were mentioned. The flow of the poem was a little rough for me. I think it was because he junmped from topic to topic.
I do love the illustrations and how e
Lacey Bolen
Feb 26, 2015 Lacey Bolen rated it liked it
Shelves: children-poetry
I really like the concept of this book of poems. Each poem is about a different month of the year, so it would be useful in the classroom in early elementary to introduce each month and how they are different from one another (holidays, weather, maybe add in classroom birthdays). Although, the images on the December poem portrays a Christmas tree, the poem does a good job of staying neutral.
Also, each month students could write their own poem about the month of an activity they do during that m
Kelsea Breedlove
Nov 25, 2015 Kelsea Breedlove rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A Child's Calendar takes each of the twelve months and uses poetry to describe the month. Each month is a different type of poem and the usage of the colorful pictures and descriptive language allows for readers to imagine exactly what that month may look like. In the classroom this book would be great to use when introducing a new month. The poem could be read then discussed about what type of poem it was and compare it to previous months and the type of poem those were. It allows for students ...more
Sep 01, 2014 Rodolfo rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Lovely poems and images.
Aug 19, 2016 Claire rated it liked it
I read and compared both editions:
-the original 1965 edition, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert and published by Alfred A. Knopf
-the updated 1999 edition, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman and published by Scholastic Inc.

Burkert's 1965 illustrations are delicate black-and-white drawings, with either blue or red accents. Though the art itself is intricate, the scenes are simple, without much going on.

Hyman's 1999 illustrations are colorful and detailed and thus more likely to keep a modern chil
Ash Ryan
Aug 18, 2015 Ash Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, audio, juvenile
Rather than twelve short poems, this book is really more like one long poem in twelve parts, as each transitions naturally to the next (sometimes explicitly referencing what's come before), painting one picture as a unified whole. And the poetry is pretty good, though not great---there are some nice turns of phrase and unusual but evocative imagery (as well as appeals to the other senses!). I especially enjoyed the October poem.[return][return]But some parts are pretty bland, and there are some ...more
Rosemary Sullivan
Jan 30, 2013 Rosemary Sullivan rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book that captures the unique natural wonder and pastimes of each month of the year for multiracial, New England families. John Updike's poetry shows that even January (the month in which I am writing this)has its own beauty. His poetry is a lot more charitable than my Midwestern grumbling. Updike writes "The river is/A frozen place/Held still beneath/The trees' black lace." Trina Schart Hyman's illustration, (her wonderful, colorful illustrations accompany each month's poetry), ...more
Mar 12, 2011 595AJ__Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A Child’s Calendar, poems by John Updike, Is a beautiful collection of poems describing each month of a calendar year. Through imagery and rhyme Updike captures the essence and special qualities that are unique to each month, reminding us of that each has special joys to celebrate. The illustrations in this book are equally beautiful and expressive. The artwork is colorful and the scenes and people created by the illustrator enrich the author’s words making these poems even more enjoyable. I lis ...more
Dec 08, 2013 Devon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
SOURCE: Caldecott Honors 2000

A Child's Calendar is a collection of John Updike Poems, organized in conjunction with the months of the year. Each poem beautiful portrays the essence of the given month and is accompanied by wonderful watercolor illustrations, allowing adults and children alike to get lost in the moment. Descriptive verses envelope holidays and seasons as well as emotions and sounds though their rhythmic flow.

I really enjoyed this book as I
Oct 14, 2013 katie rated it it was ok
This book of poems for the Nursery/Primary age groups won a Caldecott Honor in 2000. This picturebook is a collection of twelve poems, one for every month of the year. The language of the poems is mostly very simple, vocabulary-wise, but there is a bit of figurative language thrown in there once in a while that make the poems more like poems instead of a conglomeration of season-related words and images. For example, in March, "The mud smells happy / On our shoes," and in April, "The blushing, g ...more
Dec 22, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 4+
Shelves: children
This should have won the Caldecott medal in my opinion. The poems are beautifully written by John Updike and the illustration, especially of the winter months, reminds me of winter in New England--the good parts, that is...John Updike finds a way to put a positive spin on some of the most gray and long months of the year. If I had more time on my hands right now I would like to set a few of the months to music.

here's January:

"The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Yasmin Gomez Geng
This book is a Caldecott Honor Book.

It describes the months of the year in short poems. From the rising of the sun to the activities that belong with each month, John Updike does a great job creating a short essay for each month.

There is a rhythmic pattern as well as a rhyming abcb pattern.
The illustrations also do a great showing the family taking of their house and yard as the seasons push them to.

Grade: 3rd Grade until 5th Grade
Topic: Poems, Poetry, Seasons, Nature, Change
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
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