Jill's Reviews > A Child's Calendar

A Child's Calendar by John Updike
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's review
Dec 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: children
Recommended for: ages 4+
Read on December 22, 2010

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.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor,
And parkas pile up
Near the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still between
The trees' black lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day."

It's honest about January being a challenging month, but at the same time you feel the warmth of the radiator and the joy of coming back to an inviting home.

I also like that December focuses is ambiguously religious. It gives a nod to the importance of religion to our cultural traditions without making that the be all and end all of the month and year:

"The shepherds wait,
The kings, the tree--
All wait for something
Yet to be,

Some miracle.
And then it's here,
Wrapped up in hope--
Another year!"


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