Remember when Punxsutawney Phil came out of his groundhog home and didn't see his shadow last February 2nd, and we all rejoiced at the thought of an early spring? Well, here on the east coast, spring did come early - for a few days, anyway, then it left and still hasn't returned.
To compensate, to read and to remember, here are some of our favorite books to remind us, you and all young readers about the joys of spring, as we wait for its return.
An old favorite:
And then it's spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook Press, 2012, 32 pages, Age 4+
A young boy and his dog patiently wait and watch as winter winds down, and spring begins to slowly arrive. Then, there comes the day when they can begin to plant there seeds in the ground; waiting in sun and rain for the seeds to sprout and the ground to change from brown to green. As birds, bears and other animal wake up or return from their winter homes, the young boy and his dog tend to their plantings. Soon the brown ground is lush green, with lovely growing flowers and vegetables, as the boy and dog enjoy the warm weather. Young readers will see that patience, work, worry, and waiting will yield something wonderful. The block-print and pencil illustrations done in changing earth and sky hues add to the wonderfulness that is this charming story.
A new favorite:
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Greenwillow Books, 2016, 40 pages, Age 4+
Waiting is also the central theme in this lovely book - if you wait, spring will come (hopefully). And, indeed, it does - little by little, snow melts, trees leave and blossom, the grass greens, an egg becomes a baby bird. And it rains, and rains - "Do you like puddles? I hope you like umbrellas." A variation of the above book (and they complement each other so nicely), yet a springtime story all its own, with brightly colored happy acrylic illustrations of kids, animals, and profuse flowers that will make your kids want to jump right into the images.
Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by
Orchard Books, 2016, 32 pages, Age 3+
Kids always seem to be fascinated by birds, so why not introduce them to 20 of the most familiar birds they may have a chance of spotting in the yard or park. Each bird has it own page and one line of the book's rhyme, so that page by page, young readers learn an interesting fact about the different birds: Chickadee wears a wee black cap/Jay is loud and bold/Nuthatch perches upside-down/Finch is clothed in gold." The paper-cut illustrations are clear and simple, making each bird easily identifiable to kids. The entire poem is reproduced at the end of the book, along with more information about each bird next to a thumbnail of it. Using Every Day Birds as a reference, grab some binoculars and take the kids out birding for some spring and summer fun.
Stories from Bug Garden by Lisa Moser, illustrated by Gwen Millward
Candlewick, 2016, 32 pages, Age 4+
Slowly, but surely, in an old abandoned garden, insects begin to move in and make it their home. But these anthropomorphic bugs are not the usual ilk. Told in 13 humorous free verse poems, there is the ladybug who likes to make mud angels, the horsefly who thinks it is a real horse, and a bee who wants to "just be." One of my favorites is the day the insects gather together for a spectacular show of color - pink, blue, yellow, orange. Fireworks? Nope, it is the day the flowers bloom. The whimsical ink and watercolor illustrations are done in soft springtime colors, giving the reader an insect view of the world around them. There is lots here to talk about and spur a child's imagination about the world of nature.
Has spring arrived where you live? What are your favorite springtime books?