Windy, rainy, snowy weather is here – and the temperatures are dropping. It’s time to gather in the rest of the vegetables and fruits from the garden before it freezes. Here are some great picture books, on the subject, that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Sophie’s Squash, by Pat Zietlow Miller, and painted with watercolor, ink and China ink by Anne Wilsdorf, is a perfect story that showcases the miraculous life cycle of plants. Sophie and her mom go to a Farmer’s Market in the fall to buy some vegetables. But the squash they buy for dinner ends up becoming Sophie’s little friend. She draws a face on it and cannot part with it. Eventually her little squash becomes soft so Sophie decides to plant it into the garden. And so the cycle begins again. This is a great book to show how this miracle of plant life works.
A Year With Marmalade, by Alison Reynolds, and delightfully illustrated by Heath McKenzie, is an adventure through the seasons. Maddy and Ella are best friends, but Maddy is moving away for a year so she asks Ella to take care of her cat, Marmalade, until she returns the following fall. Marmalade is shy and doesn’t play with Ella in the leaves or when she stomps through the rain. But one day in the winter, Ella finds her cold feet warmed by Marmalade and the rest of winter, spring and summer they enjoy each other. Then it’s fall again and her friend returns. The girls are drawn without color, but color is accentuated all around them. The text is unique with different styles and sizes making this a perfect lesson in friendship and seasons.
Let’s Go Nuts! Seeds We Eat, by April Pulley Sayre, is my kind of book because I love nuts! This informative book is full of brilliant photos of the many different types of nuts including many that youngsters may not know. The rhyming throughout the book is clever and simple. Be sure to check out the back pages of the “Scoop on Seeds” with even more information.
Who Goes There?, by Karma Wilson, and painted with watercolor, pen and ink by Anna Currey, shows a small mouse surrounded by dead leaves as he prepares his nest in a tree for winter. As he settles into his cozy dwelling, he begins to hear sounds from outside. Even though it conjures up scary images, he overcomes his fright to venture out in the night to discover what is making the sounds. What he finds surprises him and begins a sweet friendship. Some of the beautifully painted pictures completely fill the open page. This book could become a family favorite!
Flora’s Very Windy Day, by Jeanne Birdsall, and painted with watercolors, ink and pastels by Matt Phelan, is a clever story that was originally published in 2010. This reprint is now available in paperback. Flora is extremely irritated with her young brother as he just spilled her paints again. Mother sends them both outside even though the fall weather is windy and is blowing leaves everywhere. Flora is happy to go out in the wind with her “super-special heavy-duty red boots.” But the wind blows her little brother up high in the sky and she must quickly remove her boots to be blown up high as well in order to save him. A bird, a rainbow, even a cloud, ask if they can keep her little brother. But she realizes she really does want to keep her young sibling after all. The pictures all feel light as air as you see Flora and her brother twist and turn in the air.
Sophie Scott Goes South, by Alison Lester, is an Antarctica adventure told through the eyes of nine-year-old Sophie. The book is organized in a journal lay-out, with colorful drawings mixed in with some photos as Sophie’s voyage progresses. She encounters icebergs, penguins, seals and even whales. The book is based on the author’s own experiences traveling from Australia to the bottom of the world. There is much to learn, as well as entertain, in this eventful book.
Please Bring Balloons, by Lindsay Ward, takes young Emma on an adventure of a lifetime. When she got off a large white polar bear on a carousel, she noticed a note “peeking out of the polar bear’s saddle”. She opened it and read that the bear wanted her to bring balloons. Soon the bear and Emma fly high into the evening sky where you see the lights of the city far below. Eventually they end up in the Arctic where they “floated on icebergs, scaled icy mountains and trudged through knee-deep snow.” Her polar bear gets her back just in time for bed. The beautiful illustrations were created with cut paper, watercolor and pencil.
When Charley Met Grampa, by Amy Hest, and illustrated with pencil and soft hues of watercolor by Helen Oxenbury, is a follow-up story to “Charley’s First Night”. The opening page has a letter which the young boy, Henry, wrote to his Grampa asking him to come see the new puppy, Charley. Opposite the letter is the page displaying young Henry writing his letter and the small puppy ripping up paper scattered on the floor. When Grampa arrives by train on a snowy day, you see Henry and his pet waiting through a snowstorm. What happens with the puppy, Henry and Grampa will surely bring smiles to all – and warm hearts also.