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Friday, May 31, 2013

Books in Full Bloom

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

It's spring -- for a few more weeks, anyway.  The season of spring always makes me think of flowers, gardens, and the color green.  I went to the library earlier this month in search of "springy" books for young children, and found a few that I wanted to share with you:

written and illustrated by Blexbolex,
translated by Claudia Bedrick, 2010

As the title suggests, this book isn't just about spring, but about all of the seasons.  Each page is a work of art, a stunning graphic topped by a short, often one-word title. (While the photo above shows a two-page illustration, one-page pictures are the norm in this book.)  Many of the pages play off of each other.  For example, LEAF/COCOON, SEED/SHOOT, SWIM/SUNBURN.  At first this book may seem geared for the youngest of children, beginning to learn about the world around them.  However, the artwork makes this a book to be enjoyed by all ages.


Wildflower ABC: An Alphabet of Potato Prints,
written and illustrated by Diana Pomeroy, 1997

In this book, Pomeroy presents one wildflower per letter through gorgeous illustrations made from potato prints.  A section at the back gives more information about each of the flowers.


written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, 2012

Vibrant illustrations showcase different shades of green, from the typical "forest green" and "lime green" to the creative "slow green" and "zany green".  Each page also provides a cut-out, a peek into the pages before and after it.


Growing Vegetable Soup,
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, 1987

A favorite of our family's since my 17-year-old was little, this book shows the cycle from seed to shoot to vegetable -- and then to the stove and the dinner table.  I always love Ehlert's bold, vivid illustrations and the ones in this book are no exception.  A delicious-sounding recipe for vegetable soup is provided at the end of the story.  (I think we might try it this summer!)


Counting in the Garden,
written and illustrated by Kim Parker, 2005

Count the various creatures in the garden -- from one to ten -- in this colorful book.


Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms,
written by Julia Rawlinson
and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, 2009

I love all of the Fletcher books; he's such an adorable little fox!  In this story, Fletcher enjoys all the signs of spring throughout the woods -- until he sees what he thinks are snowflakes in the air.  Of course, after warning all of his friends that winter isn't over yet, he discovers that they were really tree blossoms.  The story and illustrations combine to create a fun, cheerful book.


Seed Magic,
written by Jane Buchanan
and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb, 2011

The Birdman sits in his wheelchair, feeding his friends, the pigeons.  He thinks the birds are beautiful, but young Rose would much rather look at beautiful flowers in the garden. The Birdman gives Rose some seeds -- magic seeds, he says -- and instructs her to "plant" them on her windowsill.  What kind of garden will grow from these magic seeds?  It turns out to be an unusual garden, not quite what Rose expected, but a lovely one all the same.


A Little Story About a Big Turnip,
retold by Tatiana Zunshine
and illustrated by Evgeny Antonenkov, 2003

Zunshine retells a Russian folk tale about a family that must work together to pull a giant turnip out of their garden.  I have heard this story before -- though not this exact version. Kids always seem to like saying the refrain along with whoever is reading it to them.  My favorite part of this book would have to be the comical illustrations that made me chuckle with every turn of a page.


Quiet in the Garden,
written and illustrated by Aliki, 2009

A young boy goes to the garden and sits quietly -- very still -- then observes his surroundings.  It turns out that the garden is teeming with life, from robins to squirrels to frogs and more.  I like how this book encourages children to pay attention to the natural world all around them.


In the Garden: Who's Been Here?,
written and illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George, 2006

Christina and Jeremy's mother asks them to gather some vegetables from the garden.  When they get there, they discover various signs that someone (many someones, actually) have already been there.  Readers will enjoy guessing who has eaten some of the sunflower's seeds, who has left a slimy trail on a leaf, etc. before turning the page and finding out.  At the end of the book, George provides more detailed information about each of the critters who have visited the garden.


How Groundhog's Garden Grew,
written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry, 2003

When Little Groundhog is caught eating vegetables from someone else's garden (something groundhogs love to do, I've found from personal experience!), Squirrel decides to show Little Groundhog how to grow his own garden.  Through her story and beautifully detailed illustrations, Cherry explains all the steps of gardening, from gathering seeds and planting them to tending the garden to harvesting and eating the food.  While providing an entertaining story, she also offers useful information for gardeners of all ages!

In addition to the fictional picture books I shared above, I also came across this nonfiction for young readers at the library:

It Could Still Be a Flower,
written by Allan Fowler,
with photos by many, 2001

Close-up photographs and easy-to-read text combine to teach children the names and features of various kinds of flowers.


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I love poetry.  It shouldn't come as a surprise that I also looked for and found some "springy" poem collections at the library:

Busy in the Garden,
written by George Shannon
and illustrated by Sam Williams, 2006

In this book, Shannon shares twenty-four short poems about gardens, spring, and summer.  Some of the poems are riddles, some are silly, and all of them are fun!  Watercolor illustrations by Williams complement the poetry nicely.


Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!:
Poems for Two Voices,
written by Carole Gerber
and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, 2013

This book offers eighteen nature-related poems to be read aloud by two people.  My seven-year-old Ben and I had a good time reading them together!  At the end of the book, Gerber provides more information about the various subjects of her poems.  Yelchin's charming artwork illustrates each poem.


Have you read any of the books in this post?  If so, what did you think of them?  What are your favorite picture books for springtime?

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