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About The Book

A breathtaking picture book about the relationships we share from New York Times bestselling storytellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long in the tradition of The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You.

if i was the sunshine
and you were the day
i’d call you hello!
and you’d call me stay

if you were the winter
and i was the spring
i’d call you whisper
and you’d call me sing…

Through clever, thought-provoking verse and warmly evocative art, New York Times bestsellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long explore the awe-inspiring nature of relationships, love, and connection.

About The Author

Photograph © Jodi Palinkas

Julie Fogliano is the New York Times bestselling author of And Then It’s Spring and If You Want to See a Whale as well as the poetry collection When Green Becomes Tomatoes and the picture books If I Was the SunshineMy Best Friend, and When’s My Birthday. Recipient of the 2013 the Ezra Jack Keats award, her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Julie lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children. When she is not folding laundry or wondering what to make for dinner, she is staring out the window waiting for a book idea to fly by.

About The Illustrator

Photograph © Helen Adams

Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper; Madonna’s second picture book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; Frank McCourt’s Angela and the Baby Jesus; Love by Matt de la Peña; and If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano. He also wrote and illustrated the Otis series and was part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. Loren’s work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2019)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481472449
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® NP The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

“Each stanza of this lilting poem imagines a pair of partners in the natural world—winter and spring, thunder and cloud—and gives them the power to speak and to name each other. . . . The word love never appears in Fogliano’s text, but it can be felt on every page.”

– Publishers Weekly

“Fogliano uses surprising connections to telegraph love with frequently unexpected results . . . [Her] choice to eschew the subjunctive mood makes the comparisons seem tantalizingly possible. Jewel-toned images full of light, formed by sumptuous acrylic paints, bring the distant near and the miniscule close. Gentle on ear and eye, a keen display of relationships bound together in love and complexity.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“Dramatic artwork and clever verse combine in a book that will pique young listeners' imaginations. . . . The wordplay is fun, and the beautifully bold acrylic paintings have intense child-appeal.”

– Booklist

“A gentle literary frolic whose creativity and tight patterning will make it a repeatable favorite for youngsters. . . . Adults and young audiences alike will be charmed by the verses and embrace this new approach to bedtime; call it read.”


"The dance of words and pictures is lovely . . . The creative use of language and accessible, pleasing imagery will lead to rereadings, which in turn, will inspire listeners to invent their own playful verses."

– School Library Journal

“Fogliano’s unexpected yet somehow just-right phrasing delights the ear with its perfect cadence and tight rhymes that are wrapped up in a near call-and-response rhythm. . . . A mood piece offering a gentle meditation on connections in the natural world and in human experience, too.”

– The Horn Book

Awards and Honors

  • Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award Nominee (KS)
  • NCTE Notable Poetry List
  • Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award Reading List (PA)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Julie Fogliano

More books from this illustrator: Loren Long