My friends and relatives up north have been snowed in since last Sunday, when nine inches fell, which for Kentucky is the equivalent of about four feet in the Northeast. Snow doesn't fall where I live, but I saw the whiteout on social media. It's been a long time since I endured winter; I still remember that feeling that if the sun didn't show itself again soon I might lie down in the slush and cry uncle. That got me thinking it's time to warm things up with the prospect of spring. I so miss the season of blooming dogwoods, tulips, and daffodils! If you're more than ready to think about the warm up coming in a couple of months, check out these new picture books about all things springy -- bunnies, chicks, ducklings, eggs, Easter, etcetera, oh my!
Finding Spring by Carin Berger (ages 4-8)
This is my favorite new title about spring, because I adore the detailed, three-dimensional artwork. I love a picture book that is a piece of art in and of itself! Join baby bear Maurice as he breaks out of hibernation early in search of that ever-elusive season. When spring finally comes, the double page spread is glorious!
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson (ages 4-8)
Multiple-award winning picture book author Kadir Nelson is back with his trademark oil paintings, accompanied by a fable about kindness and selfishness. A bunny and a mouse work the garden together, while other animals come seeking trouble. A simple, but profound gardening metaphor, laced with humor and emotion. Kids will readily identify and love the gorgeous, expressive artwork.
Crinkle, Crackle, Crack It's Spring by Marion Dane Bauer and John Shelley (ages 4-8)
Journey with a bear and a child through the moonlit wintery forest as ice melts, flowers burst forth, and the world transforms to spring along the way. A brand new offering from Newbery winning author Marion Dane Bauer.
Bunny's First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones and David McPhail (ages 2-5)
Bunny is born in spring, so s/he adores the beauty of the earth's rebirth. When fall approaches, he's scared of the changes s/he sees in plants and animals, but learns that seasons are part of a the cycle of life. A reassuring look at coping with change and a message that naturally segues into the Easter story, if desired. David McPhail is an accomplished picture book artist whose work preschoolers and parents will enjoy.
My Spring Robin by Anne, Harlow, and Lizzy Rockwell (ages 2-5)
It's wonderful that several of Anne Rockwell's gentle classics are being re-released with artwork updated by her daughter, Lizzy. In this simple outing, a young girl encounters many vestiges of spring as she searches for the robin she remembers from last year.
The Thing about Spring by Daniel Kirk (ages 3-6)
Even though Bird, Mouse, and Bear are super excited about the arrival of spring, Rabbit just can't get into the spirit. He's going to miss playing in the snow and getting extra sleep. Can his friends talk him out of his Eeyore-ish mood?
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura and Yasunari Murakami (ages 3-6)
Spring has finally arrived, so a mother frog takes her 998 froglets first to wake up their missing brother, and then to rouse a turtle, lizard, and a bunch of ladybugs. But what happens when the next animal they try to wake turns out to be a snake? This is the second of Kimura's three frog picture books, which include 999 Tadpoles and the brand new 999 Frogs and a Little Brother.
When the Wind Blows by Linda Booth Sweeney and Jana Christy (ages 2-6)
Watercolor images and simple, rhythmic text demonstrate the joys of a blustery spring day. A young boy and his grandmother squeeze in kite-flying, a romp on the beach, and time at the park before rushing home to beat the incoming rain. A visceral book; kids just might feel the wind pick up around them.
Just a Duck? by Carin Bramsen (ages 2-5)
An endearing look at how friends can appreciate differences. Duck is certain he's a cat, until his friend Cat doubts him. When Duck rescues Cat from a water disaster, Duck's confidence is regained. This one is simple and sweet and kids can practically feel the soft fuzzy animals through Bramsen's illustrations.
Click, Clack, Peep! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (ages 4-7)
Farmer Brown is back and this time he's sleepy. An adorable duckling has joined the farm denizens, but much like most newborns, he doesn't know when to be quiet. Of course, duck has a plan!
Gus Explores His World by Olivier Dunrea (ages 18 months-4)
I ama huge fan of Dunrea's exquisite gosling series. My son was absolutely obsessed with these books from the ages of about two to four. In this latest addition readers meet Gus, an independent little guy who loves exploring the barnyard world all by himself. Then he finds three eggs. He decides to sit on them and see what happens. Preschoolers will love waiting wi Gus to meet his three new charges, and learning along with him that maybe being alone isn't always perfect.
Hop! Hop! by Leslie Patricelli (ages 1-2)
Patricelli continues her run of appealing, popular board books with this brand new addition to the collection. Very young kids will get a kick out of baby's Easter anticipation, including dyeing eggs (and himself). The enthusiasm and excitement are infectious.
10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel (ages 18 months-2)
Just released in board book format, this is a perfectly adorable addition to the spring/Easter genre. Anita Lobel is an accomplished picture book illustrator who's been producing children's books for decades. In this outing, young toddlers will enjoy helping helping ten siblings find vegetables of various colors and numbers so that Mama Rabbit can make her hungry brood some soup. A wonderful addition to any Easter basket!
Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray and Kenard Pak (ages 4-8)
What better time than spring to celebrate the relationship between beautiful flowers and their pollinators? A lovely science book that alternates between poetic verse in which the flowers call to their respective pollinators and scientific information about the process.
And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead
So this one is not brand new (it came out in 2012), but no collection of spring picture books is complete without it, as it earned awards and many starred reviews. Caldecott medal-winning artist Erin Stead and debut writer Julie Fogliano have created an amazingly beautiful picture book. The text consists of one poetic sentence about a boy patiently waiting, waiting, waiting for spring to come and his garden to produce. The woodblock and pencil illustrations are so poignant, they're nearly heartbreaking. I just can't heap enough praise upon And Then It's Spring.
Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw (ages 3-6)
The fourth book in a darling British import for preschoolers and young elementary schoolers. Lola gets the idea to plant a garden based on the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary Quit Contrary." She enjoys sharing the results with her young friends. A celebration of patience, creativity, and friendship.
Egg: Nature's Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (ages 5-9)
Husband and wife pair Jenkins and Page have penned (and collaged) another wonderful science picture book, this time all about eggs. Kids will learn about various animal eggs, including their sizes, how they're protected, and how a baby animal develops inside them. The torn paper art is engaging and beautiful; enough scientific details are provided that kids doing research will find this book as useful as casual readers.
Peep and Ducky by David Martin and David Walker (ages 18 months-2)
Two preschool friends enjoy a playdate in the park in this picture book, just released in board book format for littlest hands.
Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda (ages 4 and up)
I could not get over how funny this book was when it was released last year! It's a book I guarantee that you will enjoy as much as your child. An irritated cat, tired of the Easter Bunny getting all the attention, conveys his plan to take over the holiday through signs, body language, and some very funny facial expressions. Because these are conveyed quite humorously in pen and ink drawings, even young children are brought in on the comedy. There's nothing like a feline attempting world dominance for laughs.
Cat and Bunny by Mary Lundquist (ages 3-6)
A soft, sweet new look at an age-old problem: two very young children have been best friends since birth. What happens when one invites a third person (and then more) into the circle and the other feels unsure and left out? The colored-pencil depictions of the world of little ones will engage a young audience.
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