Winter has many moods. Sometimes it may seem angry when its cold winds blow harshly across empty fields. At other times it can be calm and peaceful. There is nothing like the quiet that falls over a night of first snow. In Winter Eyes (ages 4-8), Douglas Florian captures winter in all its glory, celebrating this wonderful, many-faced season in a book that beautifully combines poetry and painting to express the author's love of wintertime.
As a poet, Florian has a natural aptitude for creating verse. Even our teething eight-month-old, who usually prefers to eat a good book, was transfixed by the rhythm and cadence of Florian's language. One often feels the urge to read these poems softly, letting the words fall from the page like heavy flakes of snow. It should come as no surprise that some of Florian's poems hint at a (highly appropriate) respect for Robert Frost. Not only does Florian find inspiration in winter like the venerable Frost, but he also exhibits a command of rhyme that brings great poets to mind.
Florian is at times a playful bard. Poems like "Sled" show that he also holds less traditional poets like E. E. Cummings in high esteem. "Sled" visually acts out the action of sledding while also expressing the poem's action in words. This particular poem is a fun example of how Florian integrates his words with his paintings. Here, the lively words follow the author's endearing images in a spirited combination of ink and paint.
There are many things to love about this delightful collection of poems, and it's one that all ages will enjoy. Winter Eyes is the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly day, or whenever you want to make a special trip to a winter
Winter has to pick and chose.
The clothes she wears
Are few in hues:
A raw sienna,
A dark burnt umber,
Some yellow ochres
Scant in number,
Steel gray day,
And winter white
And winter white.
Charles Wyrick is a musician in Nashville.