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Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Into a Good Book

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Tomorrow is the official beginning of autumn.  To celebrate, I thought I'd share some fun fall books for young kids and their parents or teachers.  My son Ben and I found them at our library and read through them earlier this month.  (For even more picture books about autumn, check out this post of mine from last year.)

First, some fiction:

I See Fall,
written by Charles Ghigna
and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska, 2012

With a poem about the joys of autumn as its text, this is a delightful book to read aloud.  Ben read it to me one day, and then I read it several times on my own, savoring each line. Ben and I loved the colorful, charming illustrations as well.


Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf,
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, 1991

This is not strictly a seasonal book, though it does mention the brightly-colored leaves of fall.  Elhert follows the life of a sugar maple tree, from its seed landing on the forest floor to the seedling being taken to a nursery to the young tree being bought and planted in a yard.  A short section in the back of the book provides some scientific information about trees. Ehlert uses watercolor collage along with pieces of actual seeds, roots, fabric, and wire to create the vivid illustrations in this book.


Leaf Man,
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, 2005

In this book, Ehlert uses photocopies of real autumn leaves to create playful pictures of Leaf Man and all the critters he sees when the wind blows him away -- leaf cows, leaf turtles, leaf turkeys, and more.  The story and illustrations will inspire readers to take nature hikes, collect leaves, and make autumnal art projects of their own.


The Scarecrow's Hat,
written and illustrated by Ken Brown, 2001

This is another story that's not necessarily about fall, but scarecrows always seem to be an icon of autumn, at least to me. Chicken really likes Scarecrow's hat.  Scarecrow says he would gladly trade the hat for a walking stick.  Chicken doesn't have a walking stick... but she knows someone who does!  Soon Chicken is busy swapping items back and forth between her friends, all in an effort to finally get her hands (er... feet?) on Scarecrow's hat.  This is a clever, amusing tale that Ben and I both enjoyed quite a bit.


Hello, Harvest Moon,
written by Ralph Fletcher
and illustrated by Kate Kiesler, 2003

Fletcher uses lyrical prose to tell this story about the moon, climbing high into the sky.  It is nighttime, yes, but not everyone is asleep.  The nocturnal world comes to life under the shining moon, and Fletcher is there to tell us about it. Ben and I especially liked all of the sensory details and metaphors in this book.


The Stranger,
written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, 1986

Who is the stranger that Farmer Bailey accidentally hit with his truck, this man (with very cold breath) who can't speak and doesn't seem to remember anything from his past?  He is friendly and helpful, but when he stays with the Baileys for a few weeks, an odd thing happens -- while all the trees to the north have changed color, the trees around the farm and to the south remain green.  When the stranger sees geese flying south, he realizes that he, too, must be moving on. Once he leaves, fall finally arrives at the farm. Van Allsberg never says for sure, but leaves his readers wondering: Could the stranger be Jack Frost?

Ben and I really liked this mysterious, haunting story.  I was surprised that this picture book was shelved with the middle grade novels at our library, and after reading it, I still don't understand why.  According to Amazon, this book is rated for readers 4 and up.


Here are a few nonfiction books that I recommend for autumn:

Leaves Fall Down: 
Learning About Autumn Leaves,
written by Lisa Bullard
and illustrated by Nadine Takvorian, 2011

The first thing I think of whenever I hear the word "autumn" is the way that leaves turn different colors and fall to the ground.  This book uses simple language to explain to young readers how leaves change color and why they fall.  It also includes instructions for a craft, using -- what else? -- leaves.


Apples for Everyone,
written by Jill Esbaum,
with photographs by many, 2009

Autumn also reminds me of apples and going apple-picking, something our whole family looks forward to doing each October.  This Early Reader book introduces children to apples -- how they grow, how they are used, and more. Esbaum's descriptive, mouth-watering text is paired with brilliant photographs.  Warning:  Reading this book may cause your stomach to growl!


written and photographed by Ken Robbins, 2006

Of course, autumn also means pumpkins.  With his gorgeous photographs and poetic, informative text, Robbins tells about the life cycle of a pumpkin, and how varieties can differ in color and size.  He includes instructions for carving a jack-o-lantern as well.

What do you think of when you hear the word autumn?  Do you have any favorite books about this season?  I'd love to hear about them!

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