April 13, 2022

Sing in the Spring!

Written by Sheree Fitch
Art by Deb Plestid
Nimbus Publishing
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
March 2022

Though spring officially hit the calendar last month, we know the unpredictability of April, a month in which snowstorms can follow on the heels of mild temperatures and budding snowdrops and croci are challenged with fickle weather. In fact, as I look out my open windows and enjoy a light breeze of 17oC weather, Manitoba and northern Ontario are bracing for a snow storm of epic proportions. So, let's let Sheree Fitch's verses help transition all of us from winter when...
There's a secret hush of magic 
when winter lingers on,
when our garden patch
is still a quilt of white.
And with the real quilts of Deb Plestid's fabric art, the transition to spring and rains and flowers, birds and butterflies is well-serenaded.
From Sing in the Spring! by Sheree Fitch, art by Deb Plestid
While the days are getting longer, a child still enjoys a winter of tracks in the snow and snowshoeing with their father. There may still be storms and power outages, fires and mittens, but they know what is coming. From the roots growing beneath the surface and insects and more resting, perhaps even dreaming, the onset of spring is anticipated.  And then it starts.
The frozen river cracks
and groans
like a giant's belly rumbles
like a thunder god who grumbles
From Sing in the Spring! by Sheree Fitch, art by Deb Plestid
The awakening is seen and heard. There's a dance of movement, as asparagus tips push upwards and leaves unfurl, and of song, with dripping rain–Spring rain's garden fairies weeping happy tears–and peepers peeping. The shift from winter to spring is both slow and fast, like a ballad that is both lullaby and swing, soft and cacophonous. And when it has finally arrived, it is...
heart sparkly
gold glittery
glad shimmery
Sheree Fitch's words have always sparkled with insight and heart. She feels and she shares, sometimes with humour, sometimes with poignancy. With her words, Sheree Fitch has created music that carries young readers of her free verse along in that transformation from winter season to spring. No matter where they are in our country, children will recognize elements that define the seasons for them, though some may present themselves earlier or later. They'll be looking for plants and insects outdoors but also in the quilted art of Deb Plestid. Her fabric art is astounding. She gives such texture through her choice of fabrics, colours, stitching and patterns. Not only can Deb Plestid depict natural elements authentically, she installs them in rivers that are cold, leaf litter that is expectant, and skies that are alive. As Sheree Fitch brings song into spring with her words, Deb Plestid does so with quilted art.
From Sing in the Spring! by Sheree Fitch, art by Deb Plestid
Whether this month or next, I can surely see Sheree Fitch dancing with her arms raised high as fiddleheads emerge and the hummingbirds arrive and Deb Plestid stitching tableaux of the natural world as she captures each new shift and development. The coming of spring has never been so lyrical and bright.

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