Woodland Dreams, written by Karen Jameson, illustrated by Marc Boutavant
published in 2020 by Chronicle Books
Cozy as pumpkin spice cake, warming us with its autumnal palette of burnt orange, aspen gold, kingfisher blue, pine forest green, this is a gorgeous tale of boreal creatures cozying down to sleep.
Clever quatrains beckon these woodland folk to “come home,” tuck in and get snoozing. A “honey trickster” of a bear, “velvet-nosed” moose, and “furry schemer” of a red fox are among those settling in as the scene gradually changes to one bespeckled with snowflakes, then well-coated with a first layer of snow.
Oddly, a hummingbird is among these forest friends, even though in my northern neck of the woods this tiny bird would long since have migrated to the tropics. Be that as it may, I found myself happily falling into the lovely rhythms of this text and utterly smitten with the warm artwork. Ages 3 and up.
Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey, written b Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor
published in 2020 by Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt
Here’s an entire book about the astounding migratory trek hummingbirds do take from our northern forests to their wintering destination 1500 miles away. That includes a mind-boggling 500 mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico by a bird that weights about 3 grams. Teensy, intrepid flyer.
Watch this ruby-throated wonder slurp up nectar, then head south on a solitary journey. See her snag food on the fly and evade predators so as not to become food. Discover the truly amazing ways she stays safe across such a huge expanse of water and ocean winds. Peek at her lovely tropical home where she’ll stay until she makes that enormous trip once again, come spring.
Fascinating nature lore, written and illustrated in a wonderfully accessible way for the very young, ages 3 or 4 and up.
A Fall Ball for All, written by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
published in 2018 by Millbrook Press
Moving from the realistic to the fanciful, this happy story imagines a forest-folk celebration — a fall ball. Autumnal leaves whirl invitations to every nest and burrow. One by one the animals prepare, while the wind does her part in blustering apples and chestnuts down from the trees, tumbling pumpkins and glossy sunflower seeds from the fields, gathering a feast for the fur-and-feathered party goers.
Finally the special night arrives, a fol-de-rol of dance and song for all the creatures of the woods. The celebration winds up with a toast to the wind who beckoned them and provided for them, a windfall just in time before the snowfall.
Soft, lush illustrations sweep us into this enchanting woodland scenario. It’s a charming story for ages 3 and up.
A Story for Small Bear, written by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Richard Jones
published in 2020 by Schwartz & Wade
It’s late autumn and a decided nip is in the air. Mama Bear tells Small Bear that it’s time for their long winter nap to begin. Small Bear wants to be sure there’s time for stories before sleep, and Mama assures her there will be stories provided Small Bear helps with the tasks needing doing — and that means no dilly-dallying.
Small Bear tries her best to help although there a lot of enticements for dillying and dallying — a snug hole in a tree trunk just right for scrunching and scratching; a refreshing pond just right for squiggling and splashing. With admirable perseverance, Small Bear resists just enough dilly and dally to be awarded with a just-right story as the snowflakes begin to drift and the two bears drift off to sleep.
A charming text that’s perfectly attuned to the thoughts and challenges of the very young, and gorgeous artwork lifting up the beauties of the forest and the frowsy bulk of these two affectionate bears. This feels like a story you’ll be asked to read again and again, for ages 4 and up.
My Autumn Book, written and illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee
published in 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.
Finally, this small book from Wong Yee that’s simply preschool perfection.
Written in a pleasant rhyming pattern, the brief text accompanies one little gal who observes many signs in nature that autumn is on the way, from scampering chipmunks with cheeks stuffed full of seeds to trees “dressed up for the fall celebration.”
She snaps a photo of each hint of autumn, then scurries inside to gather craft supplies and create an autumn book all her own. When snow blankets the ground, she cozies by the fire, reading her book and remembering those colorful fall days. Warm, happy, simple pleasures for ages 2 and up.
There are loads more gorgeous fall books that I’ve reviewed over the past 10+ years on my list here, so scoop up a bunch, settle in with cider and cinnamon doughnuts, and relish the cozy time of year.
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