These new books for younger readers that have recently crossed our desks help share the marvels of spring, including flowers, bugs, animals, growing plants and adventures in the rain.
“SPRING WALK,” by Virginia Brimhall Snow, Gibbs Smith, $16.99 (ages 4-8)
With spring flowers blooming, Grammy takes her grandchildren on a walk as they explore and learn about two dozen different types of flowers. Utah author Virginia Brimhall Snow uses rhyming couplets as they see more than flowers, including insects and hummingbirds, and learn to care for the flowers.
Snow’s line drawings accented with vibrant flowers help showcase the blossoms for young readers. Snow is also the author of “Fall Walk” and “Winter Walk.”
“FLOWERS ARE CALLING,” by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak, HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (ages 4-8)
Flowers are stationary and depend on insects and others for pollination. The flowers call to animals for help, but they quickly realize who are the helpers and who might not be the best suited for the job.
Rita Gray uses rhymes for the calling flowers and also shares information about a variety of flowers. Kenard Pak’s lovely watercolor illustrations help bring to life the flowers, insects and images.
Gibbs Smith publishing company has added two new titles to its BabyLit book series of board books intended to introduce children to classic literature.
“Don Quixote: A Spanish Language Primer” uses Miguel de Cervantes’ tale of a dreamer and self-proclaimed knight to teach young readers basic Spanish and introduce them to the characters in the classic book. Each page spread features the English term on the left and the Spanish term on the right. The brightly colored illustrations are mirrored from the English to the Spanish pages with a few color inversions to create interesting variations.
“The Secret Garden: A Flower’s Primer” proves to be a creative way to introduce children to the many colorful flowers found in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.” Each flower is featured in a large illustration accompanied by the flower’s name and a brief quote from the novel.
“THE GRASSHOPPER & THE ANTS,” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18 (ages 3-6)
Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney shares this retelling of Aesop’s fable in gorgeous watercolors. The banjo-and-drum-toting grasshopper wants to relax and play music while the ever-industrious ants know that while it’s spring and summer, it’s time to store up for winter with the moral of not putting off what you can do today. Pinkney’s illustrations go through each season with vibrant colors.
Pinkney has also illustrated the fables “The Lion & the Mouse” and “The Tortoise & the Hare.”
“BUG DETECTIVE,” by Maggie Li, Sterling Children’s Books, $14.95 (ages 6 and up)
Maggie Li shares a variety of information about 10 different types of insects — from butterflies to spiders to bees. On each insect’s spread, there are several smaller, colorful and amusing illustrations that share information about the insect's life, habits, predators and skills. It also comes with a small magnifying glass and activities for identifying bugs.
“P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG,” by Julie Paschkis, Peachtree Publishers, $16.95 (ages 4-8)
P. Zonka is the only hen in the yard who doesn’t regularly lay eggs, and the other hens think she’s lazy. P. Zonka is too busy noticing the colors of the world around her. However, when she does lay an egg, the result is unlike the other hens’ eggs.
Author and illustrator Julie Paschkis was inspired by the Ukrainian tradition of pysanky — colorfully decorated eggs to welcome spring.
“STANLEY THE FARMER,” by William Bee, Peachtree Publishers, $14.95 (ages 3-7)
With springtime comes time to plant for Stanley the Farmer. This book has simple explanations and equally clear drawings on how things grow and the farming process, and they can help show young readers what work goes into it.
“LITTLE BABY BUTTERCUP,” by Linda Ashman, illustrated by You Byun, Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99 (ages 3-5)
With spring, there are so many more things for toddling Little Baby Buttercup to see and do as she helps garden, plays in the park, meets dogs and squirrels, chases butterflies and has adventures in the rain.
The world from toddlers' vantage points can be quite the adventure. Linda Ashman’s simple text narrates You Byun’s paintings that capture some of the simple and sweet moments of childhood.
“TOAD WEATHER,” by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, Peachtree Publishers, $16.95 (ages 4-8)
While a rainy day may seem like a day to stay at home, Ally’s mother brings Ally and her grandmother on a rainy-day adventure through their neighborhood. Ally’s mom points out unique sights that only happen when it rains. In their particular town on a spring day in March, there is also a “Toad Detour” for the toads crossing to a nearby pond.
The illustrations bring out the colorfulness of a rainy-day adventure.
“SNOOZEFEST,” by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Kristyna Litten, $16.99 (ages 3-5)
With the changing seasons come community festivals. One festival is SnoozeFest, and readers follow Cuddleford Snugglebun, a sloth who makes a point to get out of bed and go to the festival at the NuzzleDome that includes a P.J. parade, bands that sing lullabies and, of course, festival food.
Samantha Berger’s rhymes and rhythmic lines, including modern references along with Kristyna Litten’s excellent illustrations, make it a book that might become a constant bedtime request.
“COUNTING CROWS,” by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (ages 3-7)
Three crows in red-striped sweaters are in a tree, and they are hungry as they look for snacks. They are joined by others, and soon they total a dozen hungry crows. But there is one cat who has been eyeing the 12 crows.
Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt’s rhymic lines make this one fun to read aloud — and count the crows.
“THIS BOOK HAS NO PICTURES,” by B.J. Novak, Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (ages 3-7)
Technically not a springtime book, this is a fun read-aloud book by B.J. Novak that recently crossed our desks and was too fun to not mention.
The rule that come with this book is that every word has to be read aloud, even if it doesn’t make sense, as the book and young reader team up against the adult reading it aloud. The result is a series of ridiculous phrases that are funny and shows what words (or non-words) can do.
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