When Spring Comes, by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek published in 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Bursting with the joys of springtime, the transformation of stark-drab-and-dead, to adorned-emerald-and-flourishing — quintessential Spring is sandwiched between the covers of this delightful book from husband-wife team Henkes and Dronzek.
Spring is a bit petulant, so there’s waiting ahead for us. There are some teasing snowflakes, perhaps. But sure as the sun, there’s a new day coming, full of apple blossom and spring violets, pussy willows and rain showers.
Accompanying Henkes’ lovely, brief, intelligent text — nobody feeds toddler minds like Henkes — are Dronzek’s eye-popping, exuberantly-colorful paintings. This book exudes the charm and simplicity of by-gone classics, with a freshness all it’s own. An absolute winner. Pop it in an Easter basket for children ages One to Four.
Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal published in 2016 by Abrams Appleseed
When Spring appears, it really does feel like magic, doesn’t it? Out of the decayed, dead drifts of last-year’s leaves, celery-green shoots nose their way up and burst into riots of color! It’s mind-boggling, year after year.
Anne Sibley O’Brien captures all the magicalness of spring in this clever, enormously-engaging new book. In lilting rhyme, she introduces many “before” images of late winter: slushy patches of snow, bare twigs, bits of stick and string. Then with a whoosh of Spring’s wand — Abracadabra! Alakazam! — the scene transposes to Springtime.
It’s done through gate-fold pages which reveal transformations for everything from nests to footwear. Susan Gal’s artwork — her brilliant robin’s egg blues, flowery magentas, and bursting-with-spring greens — knocks our socks off at every turn. A fabulous choice for ages One and up, and another Easter treat! In fact — all of the books on today’s list are picture-perfect Easter gifts.
Hop, written and illustrated by Jorey Hurley published in 2016, a Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Serene. Lovely. Riveting. Jorey Hurley once again meanders along with one animal, spreading out for our immense enjoyment the life it leads. This time, it’s bunnies. Cottontail rabbits, to be exact.
Hurley’s ample, creamy white spaces and subtle color fill this book with an aching beauty, a tenderness, which I love to see alongside the ebullience of other children’s texts.
Her tawny bunnies with their shining, glossy, eyes; the whisper of pink lining their ears; their softly hunched bodies lounging, sheltering, nestling together — are a wonder. Each page portrays one bunny-verb. They nibble. Listen. Graze. Envelop yourselves in this quiet world and watch your kids attend to these little creatures with fresh eyes in days to come. Ages One and up.
Little Bird Takes a Bath, written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo published in 2015 by Schwartz & Wade Books
Little Bird, in all his russet plumpness, is having a tough day. The sun has come out after the rain and he is eager to take a lovely bath in a rain puddle. And indeed — there are puddles everywhere!
Yet every time Little Bird spies what seems to be the perfect puddle, something boisterous or bouncing or barking comes careening his way and he has to skitter off quick-quick!
Little Bird does finally find the perfect spot for a bath. You’ll have to read the book to find out where that is! Russo’s clear, bold, fresh illustrations, her ingenuous page-turns, and the looping pathways of Little Bird, all combine to make this an ideal book for Little Readers aged Two and up.
The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits, by Douglas Florian, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez published in 2016 by Little Bee Books
Gallons of rabbits cavort through this charming, playful guide to All Things Rabbit. Throughout the seasons of the year, by day or by night, now you can discover what rabbits love to do.
Some of it is ticklishly surprising, as in building snow rabbits and lollygagging in summer streams.
All of it is adorable. Douglas Florian has written oodles of children’s poetry, and this poetic text has a master’s touch of lyric and rhythm and pleasure. Then — Sánchez’s artwork is outstanding!
Her lipperty line gives these bunnies immense personality, while her color palette, textures, and fantastic compositions will make you wish you could pop these onto your walls. Love her work! A treat for ages Two and up.