May 01, 2020

A Green New Day

illustrated by Antoinette Portis
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Oh, the joy of wandering around outside on a lush summer day!

Antoinette Portis’ A New Green Day captures perfectly the delight of exploring the natural world with a curious mind and an open heart. In the author-illustrator’s inventive hands, everyday things become extraordinary and the prosaic becomes poetic. A green leaf’s veins strikingly emulate the tree from which the leaf fell, and a rainstorm becomes “a chorus of a million tiny voices.”

From sunrise to sunset, clever riddles create a call-and-response between the book and its readers, their proxy a little girl who skips about the pages, long braids a-twirl. The solutions to each riddle revealed though the turning of a page. “I’m a comma in the long, long sentence of the stream,” says . . . the tadpole! And “a candy sucked smooth in the river’s mouth?” That’s a smooth speckled stone. The guessing-game aspect of the book offers a lovely way to spark discussion and wonderment, suitable for younger kids who are only beginning to learn about nature, as well as older kids who will get a kick out of debating the answers to each of the questions.

Portis invites young readers (and the adults who may share the book with them) to look at things in an entirely new way, to challenge their impressions of the familiar and allow for new interpretations of what they see. Her spare yet powerful verses are sure to spark an increased engagement with our environment, which will in turn serve to make nature more relevant to curious children.

Fittingly, a range of textures in the illustrations make the book a visual feast. There are concentric ripples in water and tiny grains of sand, sharp slices of lightning and blurry daubs of mud. In A New Green Day, weather and light and living things coexist as they inhabit and create each new tomorrow. It’s an engaging tribute to our surprising and awe-inspiring natural world, an invitation to get outside and experience each day through the lens of our vivid, ever-changing imaginations.

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A New Green Day

A New Green Day

illustrated by Antoinette Portis
Neal Porter
ISBN 9780823444885

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