Despite the fact that the calendar claims Spring arrived a couple of weeks ago, here in Minnesota we still have snow on the ground and the air has a decided nip to it. In fact, some parts of our lovely state received about a foot of new snow just in time for Easter.
And yet…it’s April. Surely time to break out some spring-y books and think green and blossomy thoughts!
For those of you living through extended winter, wondering if spring will ever come — you’ll particularly enjoy this first book:
Spring for Sophie, written by Yael Werber, illustrated by Jen Hill
published in 2018, a Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
That’s because author Yael Werber lives in Vermont and knows a thing or two about longing for spring while snowbanks linger.
Sophie gazes out at a wintry world at the outset of this story, hoping for Spring. Her mom and dad help her wait by cueing her into the signs to watch for, the sounds, smells, sights, that signal Springtime is on its way.
Jen Hill’s gradually transforming woodland is strikingly handsome, from a wintry palette of frosty grays, through the subtle arrival of muddy browns and mossy greens, and at last, that transformative, hopeful haze of spring green. Meanwhile, the warm red of Sophie’s home and jacket inserts its brave note throughout. Beautiful, outdoorsy, cheerful, this is a book with great lasting power for ages 2 and up.
Singing in the Rain, lyrics by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, illustrated by Tim Hopgood
published in 2017 by Oxford University Press; U.S. publication by Henry Holt and Company
And speaking of cheerful! How about plum exuberant?! A flood of joy dances through Tim Hopgood’s delightful illustrations for these classic lyrics.
Crayola-bright umbrellas and rain gear create a living rainbow as these happy kids dance and splash, then find themselves soaring right out of their blue-gray cityscape to the tropical greens of a jungle, and back home again in a lemon-swizzle, confetti-rain swoosh.
Go ahead and try to feel disgruntled after singing your way through this book! A blast of happiness for ages 2 and up.
Warbler Wave, written by April Pulley Sayre, photographs by Jeff Sayre
published in 2018 by Beach Lane Books
Sayre teams up with her husband this time to gift us with a gorgeous, up-close gaze at the vibrant, fascinating world of warblers. Her photography books are such a treat — distinctive, respectful invitations to wonder.
Such feathered beauties. Lime green, sun-dappled leaves host these tiny impossibilities of neon yellow or sapphire blue.
Pristine photos of orange-throated, chestnut-striped, singing, preening, fluttering warblers mesmerize us on every page. Spectacular, for ages 2-100.
Nu Dang and His Kite, written and illustrated by Jacqueline Ayer
first published in 1959; reprinted in 2017 by Enchanted Lion Books
The lovely design, masterful black ink drawings, and groovy swatches of color in this vintage book by Jacqueline Ayer have been brought back into print thanks to Enchanted Lion.
Return to a time before the Second World War, to the kingdom of Siam, where, “in a sunny, sleepy place…on the banks of a long brown river” little Nu Dang loves best of all — “more than swimming in the cool river on a hot day, more than orange ice, even more than two orange ices” — to fly his kite.
When Nu Dang’s kite string slips out of his hand, he sets out to retrieve his precious possession, paddling his way past the sights, sounds, and bustling activity of his fascinating homeland. Steeped in the exotic, yet utterly relatable, Ayer’s exceptional, storyteller’s voice effortlessly leads us along. Enjoy this with ages 2 and up, and then go fly a kite!
The Forever Garden, written by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade
Finally, for those of you lucky enough to be already thinking about gardens (!), comes this dear, intergenerational story. I love these glimpses of true friendship between children and their adult neighbors.
Honey lives next door to Laurel, the little gal narrating our story. And Honey is a gardening guru, tending her cabbages and carrots rain or shine, singing to her kale, tucking her shrubs in against a cold snap, collecting speckled eggs from her backyard coop, arranging lavish bouquets of outlandish growing things.
Laurel is happy to help out. Clearly she and Honey are firm pals. So when the For Sale sign goes up on Honey’s lot, Laurel is understandably alarmed. Besides the matter of missing Honey dreadfully, who will move into the house? And what of the strawberries they just planted? Honey won’t get to enjoy them, which seems hardly fair to Laurel.
Honey imparts tender wisdom and community spirit to Laurel which bears its own fruit. Illustrations singing with warmth, simple joys, and neighborliness stir in a great deal of happiness to this story for ages 3 and up.
Looking for more Spring choices? There are lots more lovely titles in the archives, which you can find here.