Book Review: When Green Becomes Tomatoes By Fogliano & Morstad

I have yet to meet a Julie Morstad book that I didn’t just swoon over. Her newest book is absolutely no exception. When I heard about its release and that it was a book of poems written by the wonderful Julie Fogliano, I ran to my local independent bookstore and swept up a copy. This is a beautiful collection of “Poems for All Seasons” that combine short, relatable, poems with stunning illustrated snapshots of everyday, seasonal life.

I love that this books opens in spring, and that spring looks much more like it generally looks around here when it begins – covered in snow, with only hopeful glimpses of spring’s hello.

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I also love that each poem is loose and free, and titled with a date. In one silly way it reminds me of that scene in Miss Congeniality when the girl is asked about her idea of the perfect date and she gives an answer that is so naïve and childish in a humorous and yet, lovely way. Marking dates with everyday things like too much mud, frogs hopping, watching flowers lean, and understanding the taste of blueberries seems ridiculous; and then, it doesn’t. As soon as you put that moment into a memorable thing like a date, you realize that it truly is beautiful and special and worth remembering perhaps just as much as anything else you would mark on a calendar.

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I also really love the dates because they bring the book to an even more personal level. They make it feel like a journal of sorts. That I, the reader, am part of the cataloging of quickly jotted moments through the seasons – some mundane moments and many surprising and delightful ones. I want to remember that there is purple everywhere and there are lilacs to be sniffed and especially when green becomes tomatoes.

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It is intriguing and surprising to me that a book of poems like this can work well being read one by itself, or a couple about the specific season, or read from cover to cover. I have to say the last option is the one I find myself doing the most as this is a book I find hard to put down once I have entered it. I pick it up, flipping to the page I was thinking of, only to find myself sitting down with it again, savoring each moment about a season and being swept away by all a year has to hold in the smallest of details and most remarkable of moments.

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Fogliano’s writing is an art of its very own, worth putting to memory or placing in a frame. The fall text might be my very favorite of all, which is no surprise really, considering my deep obsession with the season.

september 22
i still love you sunshine and swimming and sea
and strawberries, you know that i do
but i’m ready to move on
to something that’s new
so now, i am waiting for sweaters”

september 25
i like it here
on this side of winter
where notebooks are new
apples are best
and freezing still feels far away
but near enough to notice”

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And of course, the whole reason I snapped up this book is the art. Every time I try to describe what it is that I love about Julie Morstad’s work, I find myself grappling for words. Her illustrations are not highly detailed, and yet they wrap up so much detail in every pattern, gesture, and expression. The moments are sweet, but not saccharine. There is lots of space in each page. You feel the largeness of the landscape next to the smallness of the children.

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In the end, this book comes full circle, beginning and ending on March 20. We have thoughtfully trekked through all the wonders the seasons have to give, delighting and moaning through portions at times. The collection of thoughts ends imploring the snow to please let up as we watch a bird sing…

“each tweet poking
a tiny hole
through the edge of winter
and landing carefully
balancing gently
on the tip of spring”





3 thoughts on “Book Review: When Green Becomes Tomatoes By Fogliano & Morstad

  1. After reading your review, I ordered this book, and I SO look forward to receiving it.
    It’s great that you post this many pictures in your reviews, it gives readers a chance to make up their own opinion of the book.


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