Tag: seasons

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (InfoSoup)

So I admit that I waited for spring to actually come to Wisconsin before I reviewed this and that means that even now I am being optimistic that it has finally arrived even though it was in the 30s here overnight. But even if you are almost headed into summer, this is a great book to share in early, mid and late spring. Written at a level just right for toddlers, this book shares the transformation that spring bring us. Bare trees become covered in blossoms and leaves. Snowmen disappear. Puddles appear. Grass turns from brown to green (with flowers). Gardens grow and soon there is green everywhere, breezes, robins and worms.

Henkes’ writing is made to share aloud with small children. His verse doesn’t rhyme but it has a great natural rhythm to it that makes the book almost sing. The joy here is in the exploration of the changing season, one that brings a certain beauty with it, a freshness. Henkes captures the turning of the season, the aspects of early spring all the way through to almost-summer and he does it in a way that shows small children what they can see and experience themselves.

Dronzek’s illustrations are big and bright and simple. She moves from the lighter colors of early spring through to the bold robustness of near summer. The images change too, moving from small images surrounded by white to double-page spreads that run right to the edge of the pages and seem to spill over with the bounty of late spring.

A gorgeous book for the smallest of children, this is a triumphant toddler look at spring. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins Publishers.

 

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad (InfoSoup)

Move through the seasons in this book of superb poetry. Each season is captured in small moments. Spring is shown in a bird singing on a branch, a crocus in snow, gray skies, rain, and red rubber boots. It turns to summer with poems that show that transition. Summer then is swimming, grass, fireflies, tomatoes, stars, and blueberries. Fall glides in with promises of sweaters, leaves and pumpkins. A bare time leads to snow in winter, snuggling at the fireside, and again a bird on a branch singing in spring. Each poem here is a gem, a glimpse of a moment in a season that captures it so completely.

I know that there are so many books of seasonal poetry! Yet this is one that is worth buying and having and reading and handing to people. It is a book of poetry that is accessible and simple, yet one that speaks beyond what it is saying, just like blueberries are more than their color and the gray skies of spring speak beyond into pure emotion. It’s a book of poetry that invites you to see the world through Fogliano’s words and you realize you share that same world but could never have said it this way. Incredible.

Morstad’s illustrations are exactly what these poems needed. Her art is simple and yet incredibly beautiful. The colors have real depth to them, the grass is rich in green and yellows, the tomatoes plump with red juiciness, and the water invites readers to dive in too. The children on the pages are diverse in a way that is effortless and inclusive.

One of the best books of poetry I have read in a long time, this one is a seasonal treat too good to miss. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

 

Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Tree by Britta Teckentrup (InfoSoup)

The seasons pass as an owl looks out of a hole in a tree in this engaging picture book. Beginning in winter, owl is alone in the cold landscape. When spring comes, the snow melts and buds form on the tree. Baby bears play and climb the tree’s trunk. Leaves and blossoms form and squirrels, birds and fox cubs arrive. With summer, the apples start to form on the tree and the tree spends long warm nights swaying in the breeze. Autumn comes with colder temperatures and the animals start to leave. Apples fall to the ground and the tree’s leaves turn red and fold. Snow comes and winter arrives. Soon everyone is gone, even the owl. But he is peeking out again soon as spring comes once again.

Teckentrup uses simple rhymes to tell the story of one large tree and the ways that it supports the ecosystem around it. The seasons are clearly noted in the rhymes, the changes explained and each one is celebrated for how unique it is. The various animals too change what they are doing as the weather shifts. This is a dynamic book about weather and seasons.

It is the illustrations that make this book so noteworthy. Teckentrup’s cut out designs allow each page turn to show the owl for most of the book but also to add the other animals as they appear in the story. Then as the story reverses and the animals leave, the cut outs play out that way too.

A clever and striking look at one tree, one ecosystem and many seasons. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.

Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Abracadabra Its Spring by Anne Sibley OBrien

Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal (InfoSoup)

Through a series of large flaps, this picture book demonstrates the transformation from late winter into spring. From the very first page, snow melts away to show bare ground as rabbits watch in wonder. Green shoots become crocuses. Bare branches burst into soft pussy willows. Birds fly, nests are built, eggs hatch. Even children change their clothes and head outside into the warm day. This is a magical way to introduce small children to the wonder of seasonal change.

The gatefold flaps in this book are sturdily built and are the size of the full page, thus less likely to rip and tear. The entire book focuses on magical words, each one leading to opening the flap and revealing an amazing transformation as spring arrives. The effect works really well with the poetic wording of the book also adding to the wonder on the page. The rhyming is done well and the vocabulary while child friendly will also allow some growth for small children.

The illustrations by Gal have a gorgeous natural feel to them. They were done with charcoal and digital collage which keeps the roughness of the paper and charcoal and adds the feeling of watercolor or other paints. It’s very effective and captures the ethereal nature of spring as it passes.

Bright and engaging, this picture book will be a great pick for springtime story times. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Patrice Barton (InfoSoup)

This picture book invites children to head outside and play in every season. The book begins in spring with children outside carrying umbrellas and jumping in puddles. They play with worms and get good and muddy. Then they head inside to dry off, dump out their boots, and mop up. Summer comes next with sand, water and shells. They carry it back inside with them too as they wash up from all of the sunshine. Autumn is next with apples and leaves that need to be picked off and raked up. Finally, there is winter with snow and ice that can be carried in and the children thawed out before a fire.

This is truly a celebration of playing outdoors. Each season begins with the line “We’re bringing the outside in, oh, bringing the outside in…” When the children head inside the line is repeated and readers can see how parts of being outside are actually brought inside with the children. The book ends with a collection of items saved from their year outside and slightly older children wanting to look through all of their treasures together.

The illustrations show such joy from the children as they spend time together outside. Grins spread ear-to-ear on their faces as they fly kites, stomp in puddles, jump in leaves and sled in snow. This book is pure warmth too, as children dry off, warm up and come back inside happily as well.

A book that shows the pleasure of being out of doors, this picture book should lead to a great ramble outside. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.

The Thing about Yetis by Vin Vogel

The Thing about Yetis by Vin Vogel

The Thing about Yetis by Vin Vogel (InfoSoup)

The one thing you should know about yetis is that they love winter. They love playing in the snow, sliding down hills, ice skating in their own unique way, making the best snowballs, and building snow castles. But even yetis can get too cold and have to head inside to warm up. When winter gets a bit too rough, yetis can also get crabby, particularly when they run out of cocoa. They also love summer, you see. They miss playing outside in the sun, sliding down slippery slides, swimming, sleeping in tents, and building sand castles. There’s just one thing for a grumpy winter yeti to do, make their own summer day!

This book has such an appeal about it. It’s the googly-eyed yetis throughout the book, the ones who delight in both cold and warm weather. The ones who get grouchy when they are too cold, poofy when their fur dries, and who sometimes need to be cozy inside on a blustery winter day. Vogel captures these elusive yetis with a cartoon feel that has universal appeal for readers.

The story is brief but cleverly done. Rather than just an ode to winter and all that it brings in terms of snowy fun, this is also a book that will appeal to any of us who live in the north and know that snow and cold can get very old after awhile. Children will relate to longing for summer.

Read this one as February is getting brutal and be prepared to have your own summer day inside. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.

Review: North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette

North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette

North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette, illustrated by Claudia McGehee (InfoSoup)

A girl tells about her grandmother who is not like other grandmas. She dresses in Grandpa’s old flannel shirts and she’s bony. She doesn’t bake cookies or pies, but she does take long walks out in nature. With her trusty walking stick, the two of them explore the little paths near Grandma’s house. Every season there are new things to see, things in the garden to do. The two love winter best of all, especially winter nights with a full moon when they explore the snowy woods. Grandma may not be like other grandma’s but she’s pretty special and a north woods girl to the quick.

Bissonette captures the spirit of a north woods woman beautifully in her picture book. From the no-fuss long grey braid, the flannel shirts, the stout boots to the way that nature speaks to her and that she knows it so well. This book is a celebration of the north woods too, the ways that the woods changes in different seasons, the animals that fill it, and the glory of a winter woods.

McGehee’s scratchboard illustrations have a rustic beauty. The colors are deep and lovely, and they capture the spirit of the woods. In fact, there are moments when you can almost smell the pines and the grass. There is a subtle multiculturalism here too with the little girl’s darker skin tone and curly hair. The pages are crowded with details of the woods, filled with animals and insects.

A lovely look at the northern woods, this picture book celebrates unique grandmothers living in a unique place. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Minnesota Historical Society Press.