I love children’s books. Those that get brought out at only certain times of year feel even more special, don’t they? I have six spring-themed picture books to share. These have stood the test of time for me and my kids, and they may prove to put a little “spring” in your step, as well.
And then it’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
“First you have brown, all around you have brown.” I love the opening line of this story, and as a native Midwesterner, I can relate to the prevalent brown this time of year. This book tells about a boy who plants a garden. It details the signs of spring and the subtle and slow ways they develop. The illustrations are sweet, and when my kids and I read this, we can easily hold onto the hope that spring WILL come (eventually).
The Corner (From Frog and Toad All Year) by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad All Year is an easy reader book, but it has been read aloud regularly to my children for most of their lives. On a rainy day, over tea and cake, Frog recants to Toad about his time as a pollywog when his father told him, “This is a cold gray day, but spring is just around the corner.” Frog turned corner after corner, looking for spring. These endearing pals will quicken your spring anticipation and make you consider more tea and cake in your life.
The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers
The root children sleep deep underground during the winter. When spring arrives, Mother Earth wakes them up and puts them to work polishing beetles and painting insects. She sews bright new dresses for the children that match the color of the flower or grass they become.
Originally published in German in 1906, The Story of the Root Children is a beautifully illustrated story that awakens the imagination with just what might be happening underground when no life can be seen above.
Spring Story (from The Complete Brambly Hedge) by Jill Barklem
Though available on its own, I would recommend looking for the compilation of stories called The Complete Brambly Hedge. My kids and I set out to read the story that matches our current season, and inevitably we end up reading the book in its entirety over the following days. We love this quaint mouse village and the endearing characters within. This particular tail…er, tale, opens with an excited little mouse celebrating his birthday. The story ends with the whole village picnic, and while the adult mice snooze under the bluebells, the young mice play hide and seek in the primroses. The storytelling is gentle. The illustrations are cozy and detailed; I don’t know about you, but I would love to take a nap on a picnic.
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
“Every year, Mom and I plant a rainbow.” True to its title, the illustrations in this book are simple, bright, and colorful. Bulbs, seeds, and seedlings are chosen, and their growth is seen until the garden blooms in a vivid array. I adore the fact that so many different flowers are named besides the familiar Rose and Daisy. To name a few, there are Zinnias, Morning Glories, Cornflowers, Delphiniums, and Phlox. I could go on. This book is straightforward and easy to read. I also learned from Ms. Ehlert that a Bearded Iris bulb is called a rhizome.
First Delights by Tasha Tudor
This is not a story exclusive to spring. Yet, to whittle down my selections to include only one Tasha Tudor book, I had to choose this cherished friend. Our copy was previously owned and quite sunbleached. The handwritten inscription details Grandparents Day 1992. Regardless. First, Delights follows a girl, Sally, through each season and how she experiences it using her five senses. The artwork boasts peacefully soft colors, and the cadence of the story is equally as calming. My six-year-old daughter has fallen asleep to this so many times I’m afraid it may now have the ability to lull her to sleep at any time of day.
Each year around this time, as we see the snow melt, the ground thaw, and the sun do its job, my kids and I read these stories together. I hope these books help to flesh out your next library trip.