Springtime brings an abundance of wonderful books celebrating the beautiful outdoors. These picture books cover the spectrum of the season: weather, trees, plants, bugs, animals – and children. All of these books are perfect for ages three through eight, except where indicated.
Birds, by Carme Lemniscates, celebrates these winged animals in their varying sizes and shapes with vibrant digital colors. Each open-page spread showcases a different scene featuring a different bird. The text is relatively simple, yet captures the impact birds make on us – “Birds are like thoughts. They come, stay awhile…and then fly away”.
Wings, by Cheryl B. Klein, and wonderfully illustrated with collage and mixed-media by Tomie dePaola, centers on newly hatched baby birds as they begin to maneuver around the nest and prepare to spread their wings. The background is painted with a sold pastel color helping to make these tiny birds pop out in their hues of bright pinks and oranges. The text is minimal with one rhyming word in each scene describing the bird’s animated attempt to fly.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Let’s Discover Birds, published by Candlewick, is designed as an activity/journal book to go outside, explore and detail your expedition. This paperback is packed with suggested activities and information, but it’s more of a guide book to help you notice the types of birds that live in your area, along with birds recently reappearing after winter. There are places to draw your observations and facts to observe. There are bird stickers included as well. This book is best suited for ages five and up. Be sure to check out the other two excellent exploring books by Candlewick.
Caterpillar to Butterfly: Fold Out and Find Out, by Frances Barry, is the most amazing book! As you read through this book and learn about the tiny caterpillar eggs on a leaf that eventually turn into caterpillars, each page opens in a different direction. The end result is a magnificent circular branch with the butterfly planted in the center. Barry has two older books that open in this extraordinary fashion – “Big Yellow Sunflower” and “Little Green Frogs”.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar, by Ross Burach, is a brightly illustrated book using rich colors with underlying science. The hilarious storyline not only will make everyone chuckle but informs as well. Just the appearance, exasperated looks and impatient actions of the caterpillar will make you laugh out loud! He truly desires to become a butterfly. Through all his antics, his goal is finally achieved, but not before more emotional trials. The bubble dialogue makes this a perfect read-out-loud.
Caterpillar and Bean: A First Science Storybook, by Martin Jenkins, and illustrated by using mixed media by Hannah Tolson, is a wonderful introduction to science and how plants and insects interact. Beginning with a small bean seed and showing its roots and developing leaves, a small egg appears on a leaf. And so begins the caterpillar and a plant. There is a guide geared for parents at the beginning to help teach the simple concepts in this book. You’ll learn how to grow your own bean plant in the back of the book.
Seeds Move!, by Robin Page, is a simple yet powerful demonstration of how mobile seeds are. Some seeds can “drop” into a river and “float” or “drift” before planting itself along a distant shore. Other seeds can “hitchhike” on the back of an animal before falling off and planting themselves into the ground. There is large and simple text describing the actions of the seeds. And below this text there is more information. The mixed-media illustrations are bold and easy to disseminate the concept on the double-sided pictures.
William Wakes Up, by Linda Ashman, and perfectly illustrated with pencil and photoshop by Chuck Groenink, is a rhyming tale celebrating springtime. Young William and his animal friends are beginning to wake up and now they must prepare. They hurriedly sweep, clean and bake. What are they preparing for? You’ll find a nice surprise waiting at the end.
Noah Builds an Ark, by Kate Banks, and beautifully painted with pencil and watercolor and digitally rendered by John Rocco, is a take-off of the story in the Bible. This story takes place at young Noah’s house when he notices clouds gathering in the distance. His father states, as he gathers wood to cover the windows, “It’s going to be a beauty”. Noah decides to build a covering to protect the small animals and insects in his yard. His care and love of these creatures will touch your heart.
Hush, Little Bunny, by David Ezra Stein, can be read or sung to the familiar melody of “Hush Little Baby” making this a delightful read-out-loud for bedtime! Little Bunny is sad that winter is over. But Papa will show all the wonders of springtime. The soft hues of yellows, browns and greens throughout is calming and singing this beautiful story is calming to the reader and listener as well!
Bloom Boom!, by April Pulley Sayer, is a spectacular viewing of flowers in many different settings. These vibrant photographs are viewed in the double open-page and seem to explode off the page. There is the lavender spread of bluebonnets that seem to dive off the page. And gorgeous dogwoods, a sure sign of spring, drip off branches bursting with hues of white and pink. The text is simple and repeats the book title throughout. The locales of these blooming buds are found at the back.
An ABC of Flowers, by Jutta Hilpuesch, features a colorful flower for each letter. The flowers are photographs which are helpful to identify the varying degrees of blooms. For instance, “C” stands for a large roseate carnation. “N” is for the lemon-colored narcissus. Once you go through this conservatory garden of letters, the entire alphabet of flowers is found at the back. You’ll be anxious to start planting some of these beauties in your own garden!