Seasons collection by Ann Blades

The Seasons Collection by Ann Blades contains, as one might expect, four books with names like Summer and Winter. Orig. published 1989. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books.

We checked out Winter from our local library because it seemed seasonally appropriate, and soon afterwards discovered that the Offspring was already aware of and interested in series. (As demonstrated by a great desire to read series books one after another, before moving on to the standalone titles.) So then we went back for more. Spring is either checked out or missing from the library’s collection, but I’ve seen the other three.

They’re wordless books. Bunch of images of two white kids in an idyllic, old-timey countryside. (Though fortunately not quite idyllic enough to make me wonder if the author had ever seen countryside.) Vaguely New Englandish.  Our kiddo is currently enjoys books with few words, because we have mad pageturning skillz to practice around here and those pesky words can really slow things down. So these books are hot stuff right now (along with a bunch of other low-to-no word books from the library).

The pictures are a little subtle for our tot still.  There is some kind of wildlife on every spread, so I think an older tot/young kid who is past the Turn! Pages! Quickly! phase could have fun spotting and pointing out the various animals. Currently our kiddo just points out people and the dog. Oh, and the seagulls in Summer. (And maybe the pigs in Summer if Mama is reading? Mama does good pig sounds, much better than mine. I ace seagulls, though. “Kre-awk-awk-awk-awk!”)

Anyway, the thing that makes these ones stand out enough for a blog post is the gender presentation.

In Winter, I’d assumed I was looking at a boy and girl, because while they are pretty androgynous all bundled up in their little snowsuits and hats and things, on the final page they have gendered ice skates. The smaller kid has white, the older one has black.

Then I opened Summer, and went: wait, these look like the same two kids and they’re both boys. Did Ann Blades just not know that ice skates are gendered? But no, on closer inspection, the smaller child has somewhat girlier shoes in Summer, too. And her hair is maybe a fraction longer/more feminine than her brother’s, though honestly they both have the same haircut. (Also, Word of God on the back cover confirms that we are looking at a brother and sister.)

So! I don’t expect to buy these, unless I see acceptable copies going for 50 cents at a used booksale, but I am very happy to be able to check ’em out from the library. And if you’re actively looking for books for a young kid that is gender nonconforming, they might be worth a second glance.

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