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If I Was the Sunshine
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If I Was the Sunshine

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  527 ratings  ·  127 reviews
A breathtaking picture book about the relationships we share from New York Times bestselling storytellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long in the tradition of The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You.

if i was the sunshine
and you were the day
i’d call you hello!
and you’d call me stay

if you were the winter
and i was the spring
i’d call you whisper
and you’d call me si
ebook, 48 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  527 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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La Coccinelle
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Grammarphiles are going to have a tough time with this book. (If the title bothers you, the rest of the book will, too.)

Aside from the avoidance of the subjunctive mood half of the time and the insistence on writing all the letters in lowercase, this is actually a fairly nice rhyming storybook. The verses are clever and make you think. The pictures are appealing and pleasant to look at. And the meter is actually fairly solid, which is always nice to see in a rhyming picture book.

Most kids aren't
Aliza Werner
I’m having a crisis, one only a grammar nerd would suffer. This is the most GORGEOUS poem with EMOTIONAL illustrations and terribly INCORRECT grammar. I could cry. The title of the book “if i was the sunshine” should be “if i WERE the sunshine”. This error occurs on every page/stanza, mixing was and were often. “Were” encompasses hypothetical situations, “was” connotes something that actually happened in the past. Also the “i” is not capitalized which might fully stab one in the heart, but I don ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
This book is beautifully illustrated but the text is egregiously grammatically incorrect to the point that reading it aloud gives me the same sensation as running my fingernails down a chalkboard. The fact that neither the author nor the editor realized that the title and all other clauses in the book modeled after it should have used "were" rather than "was" is very disappointing. This post from Publisher's Weekly's ShelfTalker blog sums it up quite well. ...more
Rhyming seasonal story.
Leonard Kim
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am wrestling a little with this rating. This is after all a much maligned genre that suckers caregivers using hollow sentimentality. It’s fair to ask whether even an author of Fogliano’s caliber can mitigate that. I’m not sure, but I think so. Margaret Wise Brown could. Willems can. Not all sentimentality is hollow, and craft matters. Then again, I’ve said that Fogliano isn’t really that well-served by the standard picture book. I still think that.
Shaye Miller
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With breathtaking, dreamlike artwork, this picture book is quite an experience. There’s so much to see and discuss with children about each new stanza. Three lines are always found on one page spread while the fourth is found after turning the page. The pages go through various seasons and weather conditions and also include a variety of locations ranging from a meadow to a mountain to the sea. I very much enjoy looking at the pictures and reading each verse! NOTE: This book bothers some people ...more
Ms. B
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, picture
This is a very sweet story. Young children will enjoy figuring out what comes next in the verses before their caregivers do.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
First sentence:

if i was the sunshine
and you were the day
i'd call you hello!
and you'd call me stay

if you were the winter
and i was the spring
i'd call you whisper
and you'd call me sing

Premise/plot: This picture book is written in verse. From cover to cover it is lyrical and celebrates nature.

My thoughts: What an expressive poem! If you're looking for an example of a poem in picture book format, then you couldn't go wrong selecting this one.

Now and then I am glad that reading picture books i
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Loren Long's Artwork
Poetically expressive text is paired with gorgeous artwork in If I Was the Sunshine, the new picture-book from author Julie Fogliano and illustrator Loren Long. A series of conditional relationships is described in the narrative - "if i was a flower / and you were a nose / i'd call you sniff / and you'd call me rose" - while the acrylic illustrations depict a variety of creatures in the natural world...

Having greatly enjoyed Julie Fogliano's poetic text in such titles as When Green Becomes To
With absolutely knockout illustrations, this rhyming picture book pushes readers of all ages to think about relationships and perspective. You know how you think of a sweet-smelling rose, but how does it think of you? If I Was the Sunshine is warm, inventive, and a joy to linger over.
Mrs. Mazzola
The poetry was evocative and the illustrations were stunning, but the concept is not the most original. Great choice to use in classroom as a model for students to create their own verse.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous illustrations.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
*Review is of an advanced reader copy

Gorgeous illustrations but the prose tells a "story" that's been done on multiple occasions.
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, 2019-reads
This a beautiful book of brilliant pictures and a lovely poem. There is more going on in the story than the words and there is lots to talk to a child about as the pages are turned. I enjoyed it very much.
Molly Cluff (Library!)
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book with a poetic touch. Some of the lines might be a little abstract for younger kids (ie "if you were the winter and I was the spring, I'd call you whisper and you'd call me sing"). Overall I really enjoyed it, though, and the descriptions weren't over the top. As always, I'm a sucker for a book with lots of nature/forests featured. ...more
Tonja Drecker
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one is the best picture book I've read so far this year, and my kids agree.

Written in verse and reading like a gentle song, the pages not only pull in but make one stop and sigh. It's lovely...from beginning to end. Simple and heart-warming moments are taken from nature and added with clever wording to demonstrate a cute and caring atmosphere. Taken by themselves, the verses can seem a little odd at time, but that's where the amazing illustrations come in. The picture make the point hit hom
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: to teach correct usage of was/were?
Recommended to June by: and Katie Fitzgerald
Shelves: love, picture-book, nature
Undecided on this ideas/verse vs. proper word usage...

I love the ideas/thoughts presented but I am not sure I understand why it was decided to not use the correct/proper word choice. As Katie Fitzgerald says the following link sums up the problem...
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
If I Was the Sunshine is a poetic book about the relationship between things in nature. It follows the same pattern on every page of "if I was the --- and you were a ---, I'd call you ---, and you'd call me ---." The two things being compared change every time those words repeat. Some of the things compared of concrete such as a bird and a tree. Others are abstract such as silence and sound. The rhyme scheme is good for increasing the child's phonological awareness for better language developmen ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Two master picture book creators collaborate on this lovely book filled with metaphors and using opposites as more than just a concept. On sun-drenched pages, children and animals explore relationships to one another. Using “If I was…” statements, each of the verses delicately explore the inter-connective nature of the world around us. The book moves throughout a day, from morning through to bedtime. It shows various seasons as the book continues too, filling the pages with autumn apples, frozen ...more
Cassandra Clyde
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Working with preschoolers and their families, I am frequently encouraging participation in the 1000 books before kindergarten literacy program. After years of encouraging others to participate, I decided to participate as well, despite not having a child under five years of age, and lead by example. In choosing to participate, I decided to use the challenge as a way to become more familiar with the contemporary literary cannon for families with young children, and have begun to immerse myself in ...more
Stephanie Bange
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whoever thought to pair Julie Fogliano and Loren Long, I want to commend you on your brilliance. A stunning marriage of talents tell this story of love, interconnections, and relationships between two things.

Each stanza of Fogliano's rhyming text is spread over two 2-page spreads, with three lines on two pages and the final line following. The sans serif font and limited vocabulary makes this an appropriate beginning reader.

Long's acrylic illustrations are saturated in color, from the bold reds,
Kathryn (Nine Pages)
Review originally published on my blog, Nine Pages .

The store received a review copy of this poetic picture book. There’s a definite pattern to the text, stanzas that begin with analogies “if i was A, and you were B” or “if you were C, and i was D” “i’d call you E and you’d called me F” (Fogliano writes all in lowercase). There’s little to the text itself. The book’s meaning emerges through the reader’s reckoning of the relationships between the four varying objects of the stanzas. The text i
This is a lyrical book with breathtakingly beautiful illustrations! Yes, when I first saw the title I was annoyed by what seemed to be a grammar gaffe and the first few lines in the summary - without the pictures didn’t help me warm to this book. Reading the book, one gets a different feeling when you start to understand the beauty of nature and relationships...and the way words and pictures together can create a whole so much more than the sum of the parts. I especially loved that each text blo ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
When parents sit down and peruse the pictures in a beautiful picture book a couple of wonderful things happen. 1. Parent and child get invaluable bonding time as they share a story in each two page spread. 2 Taking the time to talk about the verses will help your child gain so much knowledge in talking about poetry. There is no right answer in each of these activities and that is the beauty of it. If I was the Sunsine, by Fogliano and Long is just such a book. The poetry is a great asset as it a ...more
A quiet peaceful title making comparisons about various aspects of nature and the wildlife that can be found in it. During the first read through it was the the very oversized and close up illustrations on the two page spreads that captivated me. And it is hard to believe this same illustrator, Loren Long, is the author/illustrator of the Otis books. Long really has a range of illustration styles. In this title the very close up of the rooster, the pilated woodpecker, and the bull moose are magn ...more
Erin Buhr
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
I am kind of obsessed with this new picture book. It is poetic and beautiful in a way that feels epic. The verses pair partners in nature - like winter & spring or sunshine & day - and talk about relationships. The illustrations are stunning in a frame worthy way and full of animals which is always a hit with my kids. This is thoughtful and soothing. I think it makes for a perfect bedtime story despite only briefly mentioning night. It draws you in, settles over you like a blanket and leaves you ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: preschool-2nd grade
Overall, very heartwarming. A larger book but meant for one-on-one sharing, an adult and child curled up together on the couch or sharing at bedtime. It starts with daybreak (endpapers light blue) and ends with bedtime (endpapers dark blue). Connections, relationships are throughout. The artwork is gorgeous. I like the poem but the grammarian in me wants the phrases to be 'I were' not 'I was.' It should be the subjunctive, not past tense, of 'to be.' Picky, picky but it threw me off while readin ...more
Laura Giessler
The illustrations by Loren Long are works of art, and I especially love his use of light. The pages glow. I wasn't crazy about the text. I had some fun predicting how to complete the second part of the rhyme, but I'm not sure if kids would connect with it, at least not as a read aloud, as it takes time to ponder. I wish the structure of the text had been consistent instead of alternating between start with "If I was..." and "If you were..."--kind of made my head hurt to keep sorting it out! ...more
Dorine White
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is a beautiful story and I fell in love with the illustrations. They are so vivid and bold. The details had me staring at the pictures long after reading the text. The story itself is a loving tale of relationships and connections. Every layout has two opposing views, if I was ______, then I'd call you ______ or vice versa. The comments are thought-provoking and I took a moment to think about each one. My favorite, "if you were a mountain and i was the sky i'd call you almost." Such a wonderf ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely rhyming book with lines like this: "if you were a bird and i was a tree, you'd call me home and i'd call you free". Grammar hounds will be bothered by the lower-case "I" and it should be "If I were" but not to worry; it's a poem, just the way e.e. cummings would like it! You'll see a moose, a worm, a whale, deer, geese and a cozy home. Great for bedtime or storytime. ...more
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Julie Fogliano has spent her entire life reading children's books. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children. ...more

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