Book Corner: Celebrate spring with these children’s picture books

Spring has burst forth in all its glory, with beautiful flowering trees and spring-blooming flowers adding color to the landscape. These pops of color announce that winter is over and warm weather is on the way. It’s a great opportunity to share a spring-themed book with a child, to draw attention to the changes in nature and help them understand the world around them.

Finding Spring by Carin Berger: As a young bear’s mother prepares him for winter, all Maurice can think about is spring.  “S-p-r-i-n-g!” he sings as they fill their bellies before hibernating. After his mama drifts off to sleep, Maurice sneaks out of the den to look for spring. All the forest animals he meets tell him it will be a while, and he needs to be patient. After returning to his mother, Maurice settles in for his sleep, and, when he wakes, leads all his friends on a parade through the forest, noticing the changes spring has brought: blooming branches, green buds, and carpets of flowers. He has finally found spring!

Hello Spring! by Shelley Rotner: Succinct poetic phrasing and close-up photographs of plants and animals emphasize the dramatic changes that spring brings and let the reader see close up what is happening during this season of transition. One photo of daffodils and crocuses includes the detail of a bee sitting on the flowers; another gives a truly birds-eye view of bright blue robin eggs in a nest. A unique element of this book is the photographs throughout that show children reveling in the joys of spring, holding big bundles of daffodils, hula-hooping before a backdrop of flowering trees, cradling baby chicks and pigs, and digging in the dirt to plant a garden. Alongside the photos and descriptions of what is happening in nature, these photos of children convey the delight and wonder that spring inspires.

Spectacular Spring by Bruce GoldstoneSpectacular Spring takes a broad approach to covering all things spring. In addition to sprouting plants and baby animals, there are pages dedicated to explaining in child-friendly terms how umbrellas work (and what to do if the wind flips your umbrella inside-out), why rainbows appear, and how baby birds hatch. Like Hello Spring!, Spectacular Spring is filled with full-color, detailed photographs that make this book engaging and enjoyable to read.  The more detailed descriptions of what is happening in nature are combined with pages that ask simple questions like, “What does spring sound like?” and “How does spring feel?” These pages are filled with simple answers children will enjoy repeating such as  “cheep,” “pitter-patter,” “whoosh rustle,” “fuzzy,” “squishy,” and “windy.”

What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward: Seeds are the humble beginning of trees, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it is a surprise to find out what grows from each seed. Each page of What Will Grow? shows the connection between a particular seed and the full-grown plant or tree it produces, sometimes using fold-out pages to emphasize the height of the mature plant, as in the cases of the sunflower and pine tree - or the length of a row of lettuce in the garden.  Children will enjoy the simple question-and-answer on each page. “Seed sow. In a row. What will grow? Lettuce.” The illustrations include visual details of each seed, as well as showing an animal benefiting from the seed or plant, such as a rabbit munching on carrots in the garden and butterflies standing on milkweed.  The back matter in What Will Grow? gives details on each seed featured in the book, including when and how to plant each seed.

Darcie Caswell is Youth Services Coordinator for Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

This column was first published in The Free Lance-Star newspaper and is reprinted here with their permission.