Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring Stories

It's spring - at last! And who doesn't love spring? The snow melts away, the temperature rises, animals and plants come out the greet the new-found sun, and our moods lighten palpably after the long schlep through winter. Our kids can run freely now, and shed some layers. They have great fun splashing in puddles and testing out boots and umbrellas long tucked away. They know spring is special, but they might not twig to all the wonderful changes happening around them.

Why not celebrate the spring renewal with some great stories, and open their eyes to how truly miraculous the season is? Here's a good start:

Naomi Knows It's Springtime, by Virginia L. Kroll, ill. Jill Kastner

Naomi experiences spring as she revels in all the changes and signs of the new season - the feeling of warm air that "kisses her cheeks," the sounds of newly hatched birds, and the swooping delight of riding on her swing. It is only at the end that we discover that she is blind, when her neighbour says, "If only Naomi could see the blue in the sky!" Naomi replies that she has a rainbow in her mind. I love this book for its celebration of the many delights of my favourite season, for its lovely, impressionistic illustrations, and for pointing out subtly that people living with an impairment aren't necessarily missing out on as much as we think. Wonderful.

Spring Things, by Bob Raczka, ill. July Stead

This simple, rhyming book is brought to life by its vibrant illustrations, and shows many of the things that are going on in spring using active, -ing verbs. This would be a great one for primary teachers who want to focus on that suffix, too, but for at-home reading, it's just easy, breezy fun.

Bear Wants More, by Karma Wilson, ill. Jane Chapman

I love Wilson's bear books - the rhythm and rhyme in them is fantastic, and the illustrations hit the right note between cute and bold. In this installation, bear wakes up from his long winter nap hungry, and eats himself into a stupor, aided by his dear friends. These titles are great for sharing.

Skunk's Spring Surprise, by Leslea Newman, ill. Valeri Gorbachev

Another tale of animals coming awake in spring, this newer (2007) title features a skunk who wakes up ready to see her friends again. But where are they? When she finally finds them, they have planned a show to welcome her, and she is delighted. A sweet story of renewing friendship after a long winter's nap.

A Rainy Day, by Sandra Markle, ill. Cathy Johnson

This book, while found in the picture book section, could just as easily fit into the non-fiction books, as it discusses how different things act on a rainy day. Through the pages, we follow a young, slicker-clad child as she discovers how animals hide to stay dry, how different materials react to becoming wet, how the rain and the drops themselves behave, what makes a rainbow, and what happens after the rain. The illustrations are beautiful, and the exploring child is a nice way to convey information without ever being dry (heh heh). This is a wonderful book to share with a curious child who likes to ask, "Why?"

Find these and other great stories of spring at your local public library!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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