The vernal equinox occurred today, marking the first day of Spring! (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least; in the Southern, it’s the autumnal equinox, the first day of Fall). Depending on where you live, the arrival of Spring brings new activity in nature and for many people a renewed desire to get outside and explore following the sometimes dreary winter season. The turning of seasons is also a great time to explore books, and there are many titles to choose from that are about Spring. Here are two of my favorite books for Spring…
By way of a noticeable change in color between winter and spring, from brown to green, And Then It’s Spring follows a young boy who has planted some seeds and is eagerly awaiting the first signs of growth. The text is very simple, so simple indeed that not much happens in the story at all – and that is the point (it sort of feels as if someone is just rambling on about their mundane day, yet captivating in a sense). Just being in nature, connected to the elements around you and waiting patiently for something to come, is an important message to convey, especially in this era of immediate gratification. This story reminds me of words from naturalist Rachel Carson wrote, in her The Sense of Wonder (1965, published posthumously): “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Among the central theme of waiting for the first sprouts of Spring are, when the reader looks closer at each scene, a variety of other happenings: puddle stomping, a bird gathering material for a nest, a garden sign for the fog’s planted bone, a magnifying glass-wielding turtle, and a house that goes from having a winter fireplace going to not so in the Spring. In And Then It’s Spring, author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Erin E. Stead have created a pleasing ode to natural cycles centered on a child’s interest in spending time outside.
Enjoys these images of the artwork in And Then It’s Spring by Katty Maurey:
Reviews from The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews
Book trailer for And Then It’s Spring
2013 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award: New Writer Interview
Another book from author Julie Fogliano: When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
A sure sign of the arrival of spring is the blossoming of flowers – in yards, gardens, landscaping in public areas and parking lots, and out in nature. Spring Blossoms follows two young girls through a quick tour of the blossoming flowers of ten species of plants. Carole Gerber provides rhyming text for Leslie Evans’s vibrantly colored linoleum block print illustrations. For example, “Proudly wearing nature’s colors, spring blossoms sparkle in the light. White dogwood wears a frosty crown. Its limbs spread wider than its height.” Or, “Magnolia buds are opening, revealing blooms that glow like gems. Cherry flowers grow in bundles, like small bouquets on long, stout stems.” While learning the names and basic characteristics about each species, readers will see the girls observing, smelling, and touching, and, once the rain begins to shower them with fallen petals, playing. For a few species, the difference between male and female flowers are shown. The final page discusses the natural history of flowers to cement the rhyming text with a little more understanding. Spring Blossoms would be useful to take on a walk looking for what’s blossoming in your neighborhood – not necessarily as a field guide, as only ten species are shown and this will change regionally, but as inspiration for what to look for.
Enjoys these images of the artwork in Spring Blossoms by Leslie Evans:
Review from Kirkus Reviews
The author and illustrator have put out similar books for two other seasons: Leaf Jumpers and Winter Trees
Another book from author Carole Gerber: Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices
Spring Into Spring with Leslie Evans (interview with the author)
Leslie Evans also illustrated The Flower Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and 4 seasonal books by Steven Schnur: Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic, Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic, Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic, and Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic
Additional children’s nature books about Spring: Worm Weather by Jean Taft and Matt Hunt, Explore Spring!: 25 Great Ways to Learn About Spring by Lauri Berkenkamp and Alexis Frederick-Frost, A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox by Wendy Pfeffer and Linda Bleck, It’s Spring! by Linda Glaser and Susan Swan, Do Fairies Bring the Spring? by Liza Gardner Walsh and Hazel Mitchell, Spring Walk by Virginia Snow, Bloom: An Ode to Spring by Deborah Diesen and Mary Lundquist, Sorting Through Spring by Lizann Flatt and Ashley Barron, Spring by Gerda Muller, and Let It Rain by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.