While our two kids have been having a great time this past week playing in the snow and enjoying the still cold, wintery weather, I'm ready for spring. Our bookshelf is ready for spring too. Here are a handful of recommendations.
1. Little Blue Truck's Springtime by Alice Schertle with illustrations by Jill McElmurry
Little Blue Truck is out and about with his trusty friend toad as they see Sheep with her new little lambs, Duck with her ducklings, Cow with her calf, Pig with her piglets, Bunny with her kits, and Hen with her chicks. Spring is in full bloom and filled with new life as Little Blue Truck drives around the farm. A lift-the-flap board book, Little Blue Truck's Springtime is especially fun for little ones who love interacting with books.
2. Hello Farm How Do You Do? by Marjolein Thiebout with illustrations by Lois Botman
Anything Loes Botman never seems to disappoint. Her illustrations are such stunning pieces of artwork, I really wish I had something of hers framed for the kids. Hello Farm How Do You Do? is written by Marjolein Thiebout and while most board books have very simple text, I thought the repetition of "hello___ how do you do, Can we stop and talk to you?..." on every page was a bit much, and to a degree took away from the illustrations. I almost prefer to make up my own words when I read the book to our youngest. It's a lovely book though and many children really love predictable text so that they too can chime in on parts of the story, which always make a book more fun.
3. When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes with illustrations by Laura Dronzek
When Spring Comes is all about waiting. As the season changes from winter to spring what will happen? Trees that look like black sticks will sprout leaves, snow piled up in heaps will finally melt, brown grassy areas will soon be green, an egg will become a bird, a seed will begin to grow, pussy willows will pop. "There will be buds and bees and boots and bubbles. There will be worms and wings and wind and wheels." When winter is finally gone the wait may seem to be over, but as Henkes highlights, with every season brings the anticipation of the next and as spring comes, you might find yourself waiting for summer. But until then, Dronzek's illustrations give us spring!
4. Pippa and Pelle in the Spring Garden by Daniela Drescher
German author and illustrator, Daniela Drescher brings us a lovely story of two friends enjoying their garden. As they plant seeds, watch them grow, and water carefully, their patch of dirt is soon transformed into a colorful landscape. Tomatoes, carrots, onions, and beans will be turned into a salad or soup as Pippa and Pelle eagerly anticipate the edible possibilities. Reminiscent of illustrated German folklore, Pippa and Pelle is a refreshing example of early childhood literature and artwork. It's too bad most US bookstores don't carry Drescher's seasonal series.
5. My First Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers
Another German author, Sibylle von Olfers published a number of books for children in the early 1900's, one of which included The Root Children. My First Root Children is a modified version of the original story about the Root Children who live underground until Mother Nature wakes them up upon the arrival of spring. Once they are awake they make new colorful clothes for themselves before heading up to the surface to enjoy spring, summer, and fall before Mother Nature calls them back inside. The book is a little short and doesn't have much more of a plot besides the root children going outside for spring, summer, and fall before coming back in, but the celebration of springtime and the idea of living underground is a fantastical element that I think children will enjoy.
6. William Morris 123 with illustrations by Liz Catchpole
I did a post with William Morris's ABC's back in January and loved it so much that I had to get William Morris 123. While the book is not specifically about spring the vibrant colors and presence of a tree, birds, strawberries, rabbits, flowers, bees, and butterflies seemed appropriate for this post. It's such a great little find and the illustrations have so much unique character to them.
7. Hop by Jorey Hurley
Last but not least, hop by Jorey Hurey is the story of a family of bunnies. With illustrations that primarily tell the story, each page is followed by a single word like hop, listen, follow, nibble, play, freeze, run, peek...etc.. A story that perhaps highlights how important it is for little ones to observe and follow mommy's lead, hop is also a perfect little book for springtime and Easter.