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The beauty and splendor all around us is breathtaking and gorgeous as we celebrate the Lord’s creations this time of the year. Here are books to help youngsters become aware of spring time. All of these are picture books that are good for ages four through eight.
Rain, by Sam Usher, is an adventure that takes place during a rainstorm. A young boy is anxiously looking out of the window at the pouring rain. He asks his granddad over and over again if they can go outside. He desires to splash in puddles and catch the drops in his mouth and experience all that is waiting for him outside. But granddad is busy with the mail and states to wait for the rain to stop. When it finally does stop the adventures begin as boy and granddad head out to a flood of water. Even though it begins to rain again it doesn’t deter their adventures. This book, illustrated with ink and watercolor that completely covers each page, is a continuation of a wonderful planned weather series. “Snow” is Usher’s first book in the new series.
A Season to Bee: A Stylish Book of Colors, by Carlos Aponte, showcases spring with a concordance of harmony in spectacular color. Stylish bees and the like strut down the runway of the newly growing foliage as the colors of spring practically jump off the pages. There are fields of violet and a sky of true blue. These anthropomorphic insects and arachnids wear a cacophony of stylish boots, gloves and color galore. This is great fun to bring in the new season!
Trees, by Lemniscates, is a simplistic representation of the importance and purpose of trees. Every double spread features just a few trees showcasing each season and how the trees are affected. It begins as winter and snow encases two trees. Spring brings a lush of different colored blooms on trees. You also learn about the importance of trees such as providing shade for homes. The text follows the simple theme with mostly just one sentence on each double page spread. The soft palate of colors imbue the mixed media used throughout.
Spring for Sophie, by Yale Werber, and beautifully illustrated with gouache and digitally retouched by Jen Hill, is all about waiting for winter to end and looking for signs of spring. Young Sophie greatly anticipates the warming of the earth as she bundles up with gloves, coat, hat and boots to go outside where she sees puddles of melted snow, flowers pushing up through the brown dirt and green beginning to take over. And when it rains, she knows spring has finally arrived.
Bee & Me, by Alison Jay, is gorgeously illustrated with oil and tells the story completely with pictures and no text. When a little girl sees a bee fly through her tall apartment building window, she becomes alarmed. She catches it in a glass but can see the bee is as alarmed as she was. She reads books on what to feed the bee and lets it go back out the window. But a rain storm brings it back and she keeps it where she nurtures it and becomes its friend. What happens from there will teach youngsters the importance of bees for pollination and protection. Check out the back page for more information.
What Will Grow?, by Jennifer Ward, and illustrated with vivid colors of gouache on wood that completely covers the open spread by Susie Ghahremani, cleverly gives slight hints, then asks what will grow? Some of the answers are found behind a large flap, other answers are displayed for all to readily see. Some of the answers include lettuce, tomatoes and milkweed. Children will enjoy pondering, guessing and learning.
North, South, East, West, by Margaret Wise Brown, and digitally illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, shows a small bird and the loving bond with her mother. When she flies off to the north, she discovers cold and snow. Each direction teaches her more about the beauties of the world. But ultimately she flies east back to her home.
Watersong, by Tim McCanna, and exquisitely painted with watercolor and finished digitally by Richard Smythe, is a glorious celebration of rain as it falls upon living and non-living things and the river as it swishes along its path. There is a small red fox venturing through the woods throughout this storm that can be found on every page. The only words in the book are the sounds the water makes as it splashes in a rhythmic pattern throughout. The sounds are so poetic that it begs to be read out loud. “Drip drop plip plop pitter patter pat. Twinkle sprinkle splutter splatter spitter spatter splat.” These onomatopoeia sounds begin like a storm with tiny beads of rain falling slowly and gathering gusto. There’s much to learn at the back of the book. The juxtaposition between pictures and words make this book pure magic!
Robins: How They Grow Up, by Eileen Christelow, is very informative, in a kid-friendly sort of way, and helps us understand these birds that are first to arrive when the weather begins to finally warm up. The book begins with two young robins asking no pertinent questions about their parents and interacting all of the way through as you learn unusual facts about these familiar birds of North America. The pictures are laid out in a comic-book style with several panels of pictures on each page. The illustrations were made digitally and there is much more information found at the back of the book.
Wake Up!, by Helen Frost, and photographed by Rick Lieder, is beauty abounding as new life surrounds us in springtime. Lieder has mastered the shadows and streams of sunlight as you witness each page filled with his magical close-ups. There’s a frog jumping and caught in midair by Lieder as well baby woodchucks nestled together. Frost has put lyrical phrases to each grouping of two pages so the entire book reads with a rhythmic pattern making this a perfect read-out-loud. There’s more information about each of the animals found at the back of the book. Also check out the beautiful close-up photography on the end pages.