I am delighted to post my first review on Joyful Colours of the Year by Madeleine Hope Carroll and beautifully illustrated by Lydia Grace Kadar-Kallen. And yes, it is “colours”… the author is from England and her flowing verses reflect the natural beauty of her homeland. But don’t be alarmed; this book isn’t stiff or unfamiliar. It celebrates the changing seasons of the year in a classic style that American children will easily recognize, brought to life with vibrant paintings.


Books that capture the seasons in their true glory are always magical, always fresh, constantly encouraging little explorers to look outside their own windows and see what is new. This one does even more. The lilting couplets are packed with exquisite descriptions of “silver green on the slim birch tree”. In four words the author creates the exact sensation that accompanies a summer storm. It is a feast of expression. The words and rhyme are truly beautiful, captivating grown-up readers and younger listeners alike.

Beginning with spring, each season is enlivened with vivid illustrations before passing into the changing hues of the next. The landscapes depicted are bright with varied flora and fauna, but also show children and comfortable homes interacting pleasantly with nature. It makes you want to pull on your boots and see what awaits outside your door.

The whole work is well paced and just the right length for reading with toddlers, while older children will savor words like “hawthorn” and “fallow”. Even new words will be easily recognizable from their context.

This book is filled with wonder and I, for one, would not mind reading its charming verses and lingering over its detailed pictures again and again. I would love to see more from this talented team.

If you liked this book you might also enjoy: Around the Year by Tasha Tudor


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