I have hope for spring! Every year, I reach a point where I can’t bear another minute of cold, ice or snow, let alone the barren, brown landscape. Then February and my first harbinger of spring arrives, the Maymont Flower & Garden Show. Despite it all, I am filled with hope. If the weather is wearing you down, a book full of spring may be just what you need to keep trudging along!
Sharing the Seasons, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, celebrates each season with poems and David Diaz’s vibrant illustrations. My favorite spring poem is by Fran Haraway and describes someone who ignores the chilly, north wind, the leafless trees and the lack of crocuses and though it’s much too cold, sits outside. Focusing instead on the almond tree buds and insisting, despite all other evidence that spring is here.
Like Old Bear
in the book by Kevin Henkes, I even dream of spring. Throughout his hibernation, Old Bear dreams of being a cub again with “flowers as big as trees” and a crocus he can take a nap in. His dreams progress through the seasons, the palette changing from the pinks and purples of spring to the yellows and oranges of autumn until he finally awakens. At long last he pokes his head out and “it took him a minute to realize that he wasn’t dreaming,” spring was indeed here!
Bob Raczka uses a series of adjectives to describe spring from start to finish. Spring Things
begins “melting, dripping, cold’s grip slipping” leading to the “sunning, warming…trees leaf-outing” signs of spring we all anticipate. Illustrator, Judy Stead uses many shades of green, creating that feeling of early spring and enveloping the reader with warmth.
Two books for beginning readers also capture springs charm. In Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble
by Cynthia Rylant, Henry and his dog Mudge see a bit of blue on the ground. Getting closer they realize it’s a flower; Henry’s mother calls it “snow glory.” Henry very much wants to pick it and bring it inside to own, but his mother suggests, “Let it grow.” Finally, his patience has run out, he realizes he must have that flower, when Mudge leans down and eats it. Angry at first, he looks into the eyes of his beloved, plant-eating dog and realizes no one can own a flower. “It’s just a thing to let grow. And if someone ate it, it was just a thing to let go.”
Poppleton’s neighbors in Poppleton in Spring
think he’s crazy for sleeping outside in a tent instead of his comfortable house. But he doesn’t listen, he loves spring at night. So he stays up late, reading, thinking and just paying attention. The next morning, he shows his friend Cherry Sue his discovery, a new flower that has just opened. As he sleeps away the next day, his neighbors shake their head about silly Poppleton. “All except Cherry Sue” who appreciates the wonder of a newly opened flower and realizes the cost, a sleepless night, is worth it! The book closes on Cherry Sue and Poppleton “paying attention” in the tent.
Additional titles to enjoy are Peek-a-Bloom!
a delightful flap book for babies by Marie Torres Cimarusti where a new creature waits to be discovered on every page.
The Twelve Days of Springtime: A School Counting Book
is a fun and silly book tracking a
teacher’s gifts to her class. The colorful pictures have much to explore and the recurring phrases invite the listener to sing along.