Awesome Autumn

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Goldstone departs from his usual math picture books to deliver one of the most comprehensive books about autumn available for kids.
Revolving around the idea that “Autumn is a season of awesome changes,” the text takes readers through some of them: Days get colder and shorter; frost forms; farmers harvest their crops; some animals migrate, hibernate, change color or get ready for the cold in other ways; people play soccer and football, rake leaves and celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Sometimes-lengthy paragraphs with vocabulary defined in the text inform readers; the best ones introduce the process of leaves changing color and separating from the tree. Goldstone seamlessly intersperses pages into this discussion that talk about the tastes, sounds, sights, textures and shapes of fall, making this a solid choice for audiences of mixed ages. One- and two-page spreads, as well as collages and vignettes of beautiful photos, evoke fall. Many of the photos are cropped in the shape of leaves or words, as on the sound-sense page—“Hooray” is cut from a photo of fans in a stadium. The final few spreads give photographs of and directions for some fall crafts, including gourd geese, leaf rubbings, roasted pumpkin seeds and a fall mobile.
Wonderfully apropos pictures, solid information and sheer breadth are sure to make this an elementary-classroom staple. The cover blurb says it all: “All kinds of fall facts and fun.”

 

The Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books
This accessible introduction to autumn features a wealth of interesting tidbits about the season in vivid photo-dense pages. Large-print headings introduce concepts (“Before the frost comes, it’s time to harvest crops”; “Animals who stay awake in winter use autumn days to get ready for the cold”) that are then described in more detail. There is a wealth of information here ranging from fall leaf ID to migrating animals to autumnal foods, and the narrative and layout are nicely organized to support reading aloud. Extensive stock photographs are cleverly employed, manipulated into photocollage, isolated in diagrammatic captioned vignettes, and panoramically expanded into background landscapes, making the book both attractive and informative.
While the emphasis here is on science, the volume expands to embrace anthropology with the account of what humans do in the fall and the acknowledgment of fall holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. The book closes with several pages of craft projects (“Awesome Autumn Activities”). This visually and narratively engaging exploration of the season offers the perfect jumpstart for autumnal studies in the classroom or library.

 

Booklist
This large-format book introduces autumn through paragraphs of text and many colorful photos, some featured as individual illustrations and others within photo collages. Topics include the fall equinox, winter solstice, changing leaves, frost, harvest, animal migration, holidays, and how autumn feels, tastes, and sounds. The sensory pages are particularly well done. The choice and clarity of photos is quite good, but the collages vary in effectiveness. While the clearly distinct images on the “How Does Autumn Feel?” spread are well chosen for children, the photo-collage illustration showing six different species of migratory birds flying together across a fall landscape is misleading. Still, Goldstone offers a richly varied view of autumn that shows an understanding of his audience. The book doesn’t just point out that the days get colder, the accompanying illustrations contrast examples of early fall clothing (shorts, baseball cap, Tshirt) versus late fall gear (jeans, knit cap, jacket). Illustrated activities and crafts round out this attractive guide to fall, which is sure to be popular with classroom teachers.
— Carolyn Phelan

 

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3–This book holds all kinds of information, from what to wear in the fall, what grows at that time of year, and even migration. Beautiful photos are balanced with relatively short bursts of text that young children will find manageable. The discussion of days getting shorter and nights getting longer is followed by how this change affects the production of chlorophyll and how it ultimately results in leaves falling from trees. There is a strong logic in the presentation of the facts that aids in the understanding of the concepts presented. When the migration of birds is discussed, the author brings in the migration of whales and dolphins, insects, and even elk, as they travel from higher elevations to lower ones. What about the ones who stay behind? They hibernate or grow long coats to keep warm as winter approaches. The format is somewhat busy but the book will do well in the laps of or on the desks of the children who are reading it. Both Halloween and Thanksgiving are covered, which then leads into winter. Consider pairing this title with Lois Ehlert’s Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (1991) and Leaf Man (2004, both Harcourt), and Julia Rawlinson’s Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (HarperCollins, 2006), all of which explore aspects of fall but in fictional narratives. Awesome Autumn could easily answer any questions that come up when reading them. This is a good reference book for young scholars who will love both the photos and the fun facts.
— Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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