Here in California, spring comes in late February. What an adjustment for us after living in Upstate New York!
We love taking a stack of books and cups of cocoa into the yard or bagging them up for a trip to the park. Most of our park time is spent running and climbing and yelling or digging and moseying around looking at bugs and buds. On days they expend their energy before they get grumpy, we like to read together in the grass.
Grass or couch, Here are some of our spring time favorites:
#1 Our Nest by Reeve Lindbergh, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Our Nest is darling poem about different creatures and habitats. Everyone has a nest of sorts. A harbor is even a nest for a boat and the stars a nest for the earth. The illustrations are bright and beautiful and the poetry flows like a perfectly assembled puzzle of words. We read this one over and over on the couch, bed or grass.
#2 Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak
“Flowers are calling a fat raccoon. No, not a raccoon!” The kids giggle and giggle at this funny, whimsically painted, informative little book. From this book, we learned how a flower’s color, pattern, shape and scent invite different kinds of bugs and birds. It’s also fun to play “I spy” with the little wren on each page.
#3 Scoot by Cathryn Falwell
“…On a sunny summer day, six silent turtles sit still as stones.” Alliteration and onomatopoeia. This marvelously noisy windy book makes us feel like we’re outside even if we’re in. Falwell dedicates the book to her dad “who sent me outside to play” and you can tell! Her illustrations and descriptions could only come from someone who had spent hours observing nature. She created the pictures with tissue paper and other interesting mediums. The last pages even explain how kids can replicate her art!
#4 Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Megan Halsey
We have read many books that walk us through the seasons and this one is my tippy top favorite. A little girl explains the changes her farm undergoes from one spring to the next: the weather, her land and plants, her chores, her clothes and produce at her roadside stand. I love this book for its informativeness and cadence and, as usual, for its illustrations.
#5 Daytime Nighttime by William Low
This is the only board book on my list. And I picked it for its illustrations. The simple book is about nocturnal and diurnal animals: bees, grasshoppers, owls, fireflies, bats and more.
#6 I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss, Illustrated by Mary Blair
Gotta love Ruth Krauss. I am so glad this 1951 Golden Book is back in print! On my daughter’s list, this book would be listed as #1. She loves the way the little girl’s outfits so cleverly match each animal she imitates. This book gets kids moving. They hop and roll and climb around mimicking different animals along each image.
#7 A Child’s Calendar by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
This book pairs learning seasons with learning the months of the year. Although we enjoyed Updike’s poetry, we only read them once. The pictures, however, we have flipped through and discussed dozens of times. The kids memorized the order of the months by repeat-reading this Caldecott Honor-winning book.
#8 A House Is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Betty Fraser
A house is a house. No, this book is not redundant. What a stretching of the imagination! What hilarity! Immediately after every read of this book, the couch becomes a fort or the crib a secret hideout. My son refers to this book sometimes when lifting a log to find bugs or spotting a burrow under a tree root.
#9 All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Enjoy a day in a small coastal community. Explore the shore, the market and a giant tree. Run for shelter from a rain storm and enjoy a warm meal and a musical evening with friends while the sun sets over the sea. Great pictures that make you hungry for a little barefoot adventure. Love this book.
Check your library catalog for these gems. You can put them on hold from your home computer so that you don’t have to chase kids and hunt for them at the same time. Pack a snack and an old blanket to read them in the spring sun. Enjoy!
If you have not read my post about teaching kids by reading books aloud and entertaining the questions they ask while reading them, check it out by clicking here.