Sun Above and Blooms Below

Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites takes a field trip to the farm with Miss Ava’s class to see chicks hatch! It’s a little cold and wet as they make their way to the warm, dry barn that houses an incubator full of eggs—some smooth, some slightly cracked! The curious classmates discover opposites as their cloudy, rainy day turns bright and sunny! School and family trips to farms in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, inspired me to write this book.

Together with Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes, Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting, and Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of ColorSun Above and Blooms Below is published by Albert Whitman & Company and beautifully illustrated by Susan Swan.

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In their fourth seasonally themed, concept-driven collaboration (following Sugar White Snow and Evergreens and other titles), Chernesky and Swan allow readers to accompany an ethnically diverse class on a field trip to a farm. As in the earlier books, Chernesky’s upbeat verse puts the concept front and center (“From far away a weather vane/ led us down a crooked lane,/ past straight wood fences, squat red pens./ We parked near barns and clucking hens”), and Swan’s detailed, vividly textured collages invite close study of each page. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Susan Hawk, Bent Agency. (Mar.)—Publishers Weekly

There’s just so much fun packed into this happy springtime tale that readers will want to hear it read aloud many a time. Color, collage, rhythm and rhyme, and the concept of opposites are combined in this clever, simple story of a spontaneous field trip. One morning, Miss Ava decides that her students would much rather be out than in, and they all hop on a bus and spend the day at a nearby farm. The adventure is described in couplets that include pairs of antonyms, such as up and down, crooked and straight, topand bottom, and cloudy and sunny. These words are set off from the rest of the text in larger, bold letters so young readers can learn to recognize them. Mixed-media illustrations seamlessly integrate digital images and cut-paper collage to fill each two-page spread with color, depth, and texture.Amina Chaudhri, Booklist

PreS-Gr 2–Chernesky and Swan, creators of Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvesting of Shapes (Albert Whitman, 2013), have teamed up again, this time to showcase opposites. Miss Ava’s class has spring fever. Despite the rain, she takes her students on a  field trip. In this rhyming adventure, the kids discover “a springtime of opposites” on their journey to a local farm. Riding on the school bus, they soar up hills and back down. They travel a crooked lane and pass straight wood fences. At the farm, they see big and small chickens and white and black barn cats. Each pair of opposites is emphasized in bold text. The highlight of the trip is watching baby chicks hatch in the warm incubator. When the students board the bus to head for home, they realize that “Springtime opposites are everywhere!” Although the story is engaging, some of the rhymes are a bit awkward (“A rooster crowed atop the coop/At the bottom, chicken poop!”). The brightly colored collage illustrations fill the pages, adding some country charm to the story and offering plenty of rustic details for children to look at. VERDICT Young fans of the series will enjoy learning their opposites along with the children in Miss Ava’s class.–Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA, School Library Journal

“March 20th is the official first day of Spring, and many of us are more than ready to enjoy the season. It might be a little to early to get out and seriously garden but it is not too early to talk about the season with our kids, grandchildren, students,  and so on. So, here are some wonderful easy nonfiction and picture books to share with our younger readers about the wonders of Spring.” List includes: Sun Above and Blooms Below: a Springtime of Opposites—”Celebrating the Onset of Spring With Children,” Cheshire Library Blog

As the days get longer and the nights get shorter, we start to see evidence of the changing seasons which tells us spring is coming. On March 20, we will welcome the first official day of spring. What better way to shake off the winter doldrums than to dive into some children’s picture books about the changing of the season!…A school field trip to the country is just the thing to chase away cabin fever. It’s also a great way to explore the opposites found on every page in Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky with boldly colorful, collage-style illustrations by Susan Swan. Whether it’s open and closed, up and down or many and few, children will delight in seeing the seasonal changes that bring about new life on the farm.—Christina, “Bring on Spring,” Between the Covers, Baltimore County Public Library

Well, it is officially spring here in the Pacific Northwest!  And with Spring Break coming to an end and April about to begin, it’s only appropriate to read some books about spring!  Here’s some wonderful picture books to explore the start of the spring season together with a little one on your lap. Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky A class takes a springtime field trip to a farm to see chicks hatch and discover many opposite things in their surroundings. This is also a fun book to look at and point out all the different shapes and patterns through the collage-like illustrations.—Janet, Youth Service Librarian, “Spring Has Sprung!” Family Book Bag Blog, Tigard Public Library, Portland, Oregon