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A Child's Calendar

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4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  845 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
From the short, frozen days of January, through the long green days of June, to the first light snowflakes of December, here are poems for all twelve months of the year. Each celebrates the familiar but nonetheless wondrous qualities that make a time of the year unique. Vibrant paintings follow the members of a busy, contented family and their friends through the seasons, ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 12th 1965 by Random House Children's Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Julie
One of my favorite writers and one of my favorite illustrators made a children's book together in 1965 and it took me this long to find it?

Well, Happy Christmas to me!!

This is my new love. If you enjoy great children's books, you should just trust me and order yourself a copy.
Shanna Gonzalez
Oct 15, 2010 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jennifer Foeller
Poetry is just one of those things that I don't love anymore. However, this book is really not bad as a poetry book for children. The rhymes aren't clunky and they are easily read aloud. The only awkward one is the one for November. The illustrations are nice, they have an old-fashioned feel to them but don't look too dated.
If it was up to me though, I prefer humorous poetry over sentimental poetry for children. I would rather read Silverstein or Prelutsky to children.

Jenny
A poem for each month is combined with detailed illustrations of a family participating in a variety of activities throughout the year (making valentines, flying a kite, riding bikes, barbecuing, trick-or-treating, and many others.)
Kirah Marshall
Sep 09, 2016 Kirah Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rachel
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Alexandria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luann
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!
Rodolfo
Aug 17, 2014 Rodolfo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Lovely poems and images.
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.
Cassandra Gelvin
Lackluster poems for every month.

It's not badly written. The poetry is well-metered and rhymed. It's just twelve poems, one for each month, kind of how a child would see it, I guess. It's a little bit dated, being written in the 1960s. There's a few gender stereotypes, like "The blushing, girlish/World unfolds". I'm not sure what's "girlish" about nature. Later, "And Daddy may/Get out his hoe/To plant tomatoes/In a row,/And, afterwards,/May lazily/Look at some baseball/On TV."

It's pretty stereot
...more
SamZ
Feb 08, 2017 SamZ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott
2000 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: The April page with the beautiful details of birds, daffodils, and springtime meadows.
This is a beautiful book of poetry that has one page full of beautiful details celebrating the natural details and the family activities that occur during each month of the year. I especially love how each month has things that the families are doing together, and most of the things they are doing are out in the beauty of the world around us.
Beverly
Trina Schart Hyman is one of my absolute favorite illustrators, and I am glad that her illustrations have been awarded and honored so much. I have always admired how well she executes faces and facial expressions; and I love all the little homey details that she puts into this book. I liked that she chose to illustrate a blended, biracial family and their activities through the year. And I liked that she made sure to illustrate at least one thing from each of the lovely poems.
Karen
Dec 30, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Kids didn't care for this one. I thought it was good..krb 12/30/16
Stefanie Burns
Jan 02, 2017 Stefanie Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott-honor
This book is a collection of 12 poems, one for each month of the year. The poems have a great rhyming rhythm and are descriptive. Pretty illustrations match the scene in the poem.
katie
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
Ash Ryan
Jun 11, 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
Claire
Dec 30, 2015 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Cassandra Kneblik
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
595AJ__Margaret
Mar 11, 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
Rosemary Sullivan
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
Erin Reda
Nov 04, 2014 Erin Reda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jill
Dec 22, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
Devon
Sep 18, 2013 Devon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-642
LIBS 642 PICTURE BOOK LOG
CATEGORY: POETRY
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
...more
Xinxin
Apr 25, 2015 Xinxin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Patricia Holland
I loved this book so much. I have always loved reading poetry. When I was reading each month I felt that each short poem so perfectly described each month. There was not a thing that needed to be added or taken away to get the feel of the month. I thought that the pictures were just precious. I think that they captured what childhood should be all about. One line that I thought was so clever was in the month of June. The author is talking about long days with sunlight when he says, “And Freckle ...more
M.M. Hudson
Jan 02, 2015 M.M. Hudson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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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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