Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fall in Love With Stories

Crisp, clear days. Crunchy leaves underfoot. The tisk tisk tisk of skipping ropes hitting pavement. Wind blowing leaves, rakes scraping sidewalks. Kids talking and laughing as they jump in piles of leaves or head down the block to school. The first smells of smoky fireplaces and warm cocoa. Fall has a great many delights, and has, it's no surprise, inspired a few picture books of its own.

Just the Facts Books

When Autumn Falls, by Kelli Nidey, ill. Susan Swan

This book talks about some of the things we can expect when fall arrives: colourful, falling leaves, festivals like Hallowe'en, fall produce like apples, cooler weather, earlier evenings, and so on. Bold collage images make this a standout - in fact, the same artist is featured in the next book, below, but this one is simpler and aimed for younger children.

It's Fall! by Linda Glaser, ill. Susan Swan

The vibrant collage-art in this book makes it a treat to read, illustrating text that informs about many aspects of fall. This book is fairly comprehensive, covering not only leaves, but also hibernation and migration, fall clothing, and the way different vegetation (and gardeners) prepares for the next year. It also includes some fall nature activities for families at the end.

I Know It's Autumn, by Eileen Spinelli, ill. Nancy Hayashi

A young girl tells, in rhyme, what signs point to autumn for her. This seems to be set in a small town, as some of the things she enjoys in autumn are pretty rural delights. It's a nice, simple book, told from the perspective of things a child would notice, which I like.

In November, by Cynthia Rylant, ill. Jill Kastner

This gorgeous book tells about the turning of fall into winter in November, and the preparations made by people and animals as the world tucks "her children in, with a kiss on their heads, till spring." This book does reveal its American origins in the page about Thanksgiving, but it is so beautiful that I think this shouldn't be a major deterrant.

Stories for the Season

Mouse's First Fall, by Lauren Thompson, ill. Buket Erdogan

The mouse series covers pretty much every season and major holiday nicely for preschoolers. Cute, simple, and featuring great boldly-painted illustrations, they fall just the right side of cutesy. This one about fall is no exception, and the vibrant oranges against blue skies make it a visual treat.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson, ill. Tiphanie Beeke

Fletcher the fox has never seen autumn before, so when his favourite tree starts to turn brown and lose its leaves, he is worried. He tries to fix it or stop it, to no avail, and as the other animals take the leaves for their own purposes (like nesting), he feels terrible. In the end though, the tree is covered in icicles that seem to tell him everything is just fine. The vision of sparkling beauty that accompanies this ending never fails to elicit some big eyes and the kind of gasp usually heard at a fireworks display.

The Stranger, by Chris van Allsburg

An abstract advanced picture book, in which a mysterious visitor stays a touch too long, and summer seems to stay with him until he leaves, and the wind sweeps in behind him. Beautiful, a mite haunting, a lovely book for sharing with a slightly older child, maybe 5 or 6 or more.

Wild Child, by Lynne Plourde, ill. Greg Couch

A lovely allegorical take on autumn as a child going to bed, and Mother Earth giving the child a song of crackling leaves, a snack of apples, a flaming red nightgown, and a cool, frosty hug. In the end, as Autumn drops off to sleep, her child Winter wakes... This is beautiful, but sophisticated, and maybe best appreciated by a little bit older child, too.

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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