Spring is Here!

April 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Perhaps at no other time in our lives than when we are parenting young children are we more attuned to the changing of the seasons. Seen through our children’s eyes, it’s positively magical, nature unfolding in all sorts of surprising ways. Regardless of our “mild” winter, on March 1 our family had a March into Spring around our living room, started giddily discussing planting vegetables and riding bikes to school without jackets–and started reading Spring Books. In my opinion, a picture book about spring should capture the anticipation, the wonder, the thrill, and the hope we feel at the beginning of the season.

Get ready to open your hearts to And Then It’s Spring (Ages 3-6), a 2012 picture book by newcomer poet Julie Fogliano and one of my favorite contemporary illustrators Erin E. Stead (side note: if you don’t already own her zoo-animal masterpiece A Sick Day for Amos McGee, do not delay a second longer). And Then It’s Spring is one of those perfect marriages of words and pictures, where the end result is more than the sum of its parts. Without any illustrations, it’s simply a lovely free verse poem about “first you have brown/ all around you have brown/ then there are seeds/ and a wish for rain” and more waiting and “you worry about those seeds” but it’s still brown—until you wake up one morning and suddenly “it’s green/all around you have green.” Now add to this verse subtly stunning pencil and woodblock illustrations, and suddenly you have a little boy, his dog, a bunny, a bird, and a turtle (sporting a red wool cap)—all moving around a backyard that gets a little less brown every day.

As the drawings unfold, we realize that all parties are equally invested in the crop of seeds they’ve planted, watching for signs of sprouting, putting their ears to the ground to see if they can hear the growing, and patiently waiting. Each time the kids and I read this book, we discover something we’ve missed: the bunny wielding a watering can on his carrot seeds, the sign the dog puts in the dirt to mark where he has buried his bone, an earthworm and a mouse conversing in their respective tunnels underground. The triumphant ending—abounding with green—makes everyone in our house want to grab our Wellies and run for the door!

"and the brown, still brown, has a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground and close your eyes"

“and the brown, still brown, has a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground and close your eyes”

Other Favorites About the Magic of Spring’s Arrival:
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na (Ages 1-3)
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson (Ages 3-6)
When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward (Ages 3-6)
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman (Ages 4-8)

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