Book Corner: Spring reading has sprung

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer, daffodils are blooming…spring has sprung! Spring in our area is such a beautiful season, and one perfect way to celebrate the start of a new season is to share a good book with a child.

Escargot and the Search for Spring, opens a new window by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Sydney Hanson
Escargot is a beautiful French snail who is looking and feeling a little droopy after a long winter. Escargot is tired of making snow angels and is even tired of hot chocolate. Escargot decides to go out and look for signs of spring and immediately perks up.  When a big, white bunny unexpectedly appears, Escargot is uncertain of how this will impact the adventure and decides to go on alone. However, the bunny has different ideas and follows Escargot, which is a bit intimidating since the snail is much smaller than the fluffy, white bunny. As the bunny begins to play, Escargot becomes less scared and eventually the snail and the bunny go on together to find some bright flowers, the first sign of spring.  The snail and the bunny in this picture book are adorably drawn and make it a visual treat for young children.

Grumpy Monkey: Spring Fever, opens a new window by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang
Jim Panzee is going wild! He is jumping, running, leaping, and shouting.  Why does he feel like this? It’s spring fever! Jim is terribly worried about this fever and starts asking his friends how to cure it. His friend water buffalo explains that spring fever is not a real fever; it’s when you get lots of energy in the beautiful spring weather. “You need to calm down!” another friend tells him. Calming down is not easy for Jim.  He tries to follow the advice of friends by breathing slowly, taking a bath, sniffing lavender, and taking a nap. But none of those strategies make him feel calm inside. He still feels like shouting and jumping. When his friends don’t understand, he starts to feel angry.  Norman the gorilla finally gives him advice that helps: embrace the energy and do the spring things you enjoy. So Jim climbs a tree, plays ball, pets some baby animals, paints, splashes, and plays. Jim is having so much fun his friends join in, and soon they all agree that spring fever can be fun.

Spring Parade, opens a new window by Camelia Kay, illustrated by Allyn Howard
Here comes spring! First are the spring flowers, then the animals gradually emerge. There are bears, birds, bees, and butterflies. They all come out onto the green grass of the meadow, where the flowers are blooming and the bugs and beetles are crawling. More and more animals join in, from deer to ducks. A soft breeze and big, fluffy clouds that float like balloons add to the spring parade. The animals all make their way through the meadow and into the forest where the trees are blooming, and the petals of flowering fruit trees float down like confetti, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Spring Sings for the Grouchy Ladybug, opens a new window by Eric Carle
Indelible signs of spring are celebrated on every page: baby ducks in a pond, hopping frogs, bunnies, and birds singing. But where is the titular ladybug? She’s there, hiding on the pages, a little mystery for young readers to wonder about and search out as they progress through the book. Finally, at the very end, after seeing dancing butterflies and all the animals celebrating spring, we get a close-up image of the Grouchy Ladybug, so we can see that even she is smiling and enjoying the signs of spring. The iconic art of Eric Carle makes this a joy from cover to cover. His bright, bold style fits perfectly with a story about the energy and renewal of spring.

Darcie Caswell is the Youth Services Coordinator at CRRL. This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.