Cathy Goldberg Fishman and Melanie inspired them to create Spring Stroll in the City. Read on to learn more about how this talented pair of creators made this amazing spring book!
Melanie and I were happy to team up again to create A Spring Stroll in the City. This new board book captures the beauty of the season, the excitement of a big city, and some wonderful holidays in a simple, rhyming text that highlights the numbers 1–10. The text was inspired by walks through Washington, D. C. As I pass from our residential area to the Eastern Market, I can see vendor’s carts filled with flowers and merchants selling new spring clothes, hats, artwork, books, food, pastries, and almost everything else that is needed to welcome spring and celebrate holidays. Melanie Hall’s wonderful illustrations bring that excitement to life!
In A Spring Stroll in the City, readers can count shamrocks, tulips, boxes of matzo, sombreros, and eggs. They can think about the holidays that occur during the spring months of March, April, and May—St. Patrick’s Day, Nowruz, Passover, Easter, and Cinco De Mayo. Each of these spring holidays has special foods, songs, colors, and prayers. But one thing some have in common is the egg. Whether it is decorated, roasted, or served in salted water, the egg can be a symbol of new life, rebirth, and personal growth.
But A Spring Stroll in the City is about more than holidays. What can be more fun than walking to a city park on a beautiful spring day? Kids and parents are flying kites. Daffodils and tulips are blooming through tufts of grass along the sidewalk. And groups of people have started to gather again to feel the sun after a long, dark winter. They spread out blankets and either picnic or nap. Best of all, sometimes they dance! In the park!
So, my favorite page in this book is the last one: 10 people dancing with scarves in the park. Countries like Israel, Russia, Iran, and Mexico have folk dances that represent their cultures, and one thing some of the dances have in common is dancing with scarves. Many cities have outdoor festivals, and I love joining people from different cultures and sharing their folk-dance music and steps. I don’t always remember the movements, but I always have fun. And families will have fun, too, reading A Spring Stroll in the City.
The illustrations for A Spring Stroll in the City are collage: I cut out and glued down shapes from a variety of colored and textured papers, some of which are Japanese papers, while others I hand-colored with watercolor. Because this book is about celebrations in the spring, I chose spring-like colors: many shades of green along with light, fresh hues. I purposely made the background of the image for “10 people dancing with scarves in the park” quite simple—just grass, trees, and flowers to give a sense of expansiveness and joy. Everyone is dancing with delight, even the dog!
So many statues we see in city parks are of male figures, usually soldiers and statesmen. But the statue in this park is a woman and a poet—one of my favorites—Edna St. Vincent Millay.