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FICTION

In the Middle of Fall

illus. by Laura Dronzek. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062573117.
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RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—In this lovely companion to When Spring Comes, poetic text and lush-hued acrylic paintings depict a rural setting fully turned to autumn. Leaves shimmer orange and yellow, "the sky is mostly gray/and the air is chilly," "frisky" squirrels gather nuts, plump pumpkins stand ready for the picking, and apples hang from tree branches "like ornaments." A red-jacketed girl and her dog, along with other cozily clad children and busy woodland animals, engage in outdoor activities as the tranquil ambience builds. Then, suddenly, with "one big gust of wind" (and a whirl of colorful leaves depicted in a motion-filled spread), "everything/is yellow/and red/and orange." The moment resonates, as the child catches a drifting orange leaf, then romps in a just-raked pile. Readers are encouraged to remember the details of fall (circled insets provide helpful visual clues), for soon all of its glories will fade and the sky will change again. Delightful details and sensory-rich images pack the pages, celebrating the tangible characteristics of the season while conveying the sense of wonder inherent in nature's transformations.
VERDICT A must-have for autumn storytimes and investigations, this exquisite picture book will inspire youngsters to get outdoors and observe the world around them.

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