Zagarinski's style seems much better suited to poems than narratives, because of how each illustration is filled with details that make you want to sit and look at the page longer--like I want to with a good poem. I enjoyed Sidman's subtlety and restraint. The illustrations too often were representations of what was in the poem, and yet sometimes the complementary relationship was more evident. The first green page was in balance: the 'shyness' isn't something Zagarinski tried hard to represent overtly, the trembling in the breeze, or the tasting of the rain. But for most of the book it was like the Sidman's figures of speech beckoned me for visualization and then the illustrator answered all the riddles before I could even think. While I thought Zagarinski was the saving grace of the Tiger book, in this one the poems draw me while the illustrations distract from their quality.
So because this was an earlier Caldecott Honor book, we can now see Zagarinski is a darling of the industry. I'd like to see her paired up with someone who has a vision for the relationship between pictures and words. In a recent interview
, she noted that she does not see herself as a writer, and I don't think she can depend on the luck of being paired with just the right writer. She's got some amazing potential--I hope she finds this path!