Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five Favorites: spring books we are loving

We are right in the middle of the #365picturebooks challenge dreamed up by StrongHaven (just finished number 125/365). Somehow, it was easier to devour piles of books when the weather was chilly and unpleasant for playing outside. Now that spring seems to be here in earnest, we are outside most of the day, and I'm having to work harder to keep our read-aloud streak going.

It's one of those things- as soon as we find a time slot for reading aloud that seems to work perfectly, something changes, and we have to renegotiate. I haven't found the perfect spot in our day for reading aloud now that everyone wants to run outside as soon as they finish breakfast (and sometimes even before...Sam has been taking his breakfast out onto the deck if the temperature is above 45 degrees).

We can do the before bedtime slot, but I sometimes miss that because of putting the baby down to sleep, so George gets all the fun. I might try reading while they eat breakfast today.

One of my favorite things about this challenge has been finding new books at our library. We have a large collection, but there are not enough to add up to 365 picture books, even if we read every single one we own. Today, I wanted to share some new picture books we have discovered. While I always go back to read our perennial favorites over and over again, we have been enjoying some new finds from the library that are so seasonally appropriate, I just have to share them with you (in case you haven't run across them yet).

Heads up, local friends- I'm running these back to the library this week, so if you hurry, you can be the next to grab them!


If You Hold A Seed by Elly Mackay is the story of a child who plants a tree and watches it grow throughout his life. He dreams of the day he will be able to sit in the tree, and his dreams finally come true. I don't know how she did the pictures, but Elly Mackay's illustrations are the most interesting, multi-textured, marvelous pictures I've seen in a long time. The light glows off the page so that I almost feel it on my face. My little budding artist daughter pointed at the pages as soon as I started reading and said, "Those are definitely mixed media." (Yes!)


and then it's spring by Julie Fogliano is the story of waiting for things to be green. It is so beautifully written and illustrated (by Erin E. Stead, who is wonderful at capturing the essence of what it feels like to be a little kid) that it is nearly perfect. There is nothing more to say. You have to read it, and I need to buy it, because I never want to return it to the library.


My Garden by Kevin Henkes is a new favorite around here. It is exactly as it should be. A child helps her mother in the garden and dreams of the garden she would create if she could grow anything she wanted. This has led to some interesting discussions here and drawings of gardens growing light sabers and ice cream cones. I'm planning to use the concept as a writing prompt for the kids in the next couple of weeks as we work on our own garden.


Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett is an odd, funny story of two boys who dig a giant hole, just miss lots of almost amazing things, and then have an inexplicable experience after which things are almost exactly the way they were before...but not quite. The pictures are by Jon Klassen, and they are priceless. It's the kind of book that makes everyone in our family want to go and dig a hole, which is perfect for this time of year. (I'm hoping I can limit their hole-digging enthusiasm to carefully chosen parts of our yard.)


Outside Your Window by Nicola Davies is a new collection of original poetry for the seasons. There are poems and gorgeous illustrations for every season of the year, so it isn't (strictly speaking) just a spring book. Maybe it was the cover that pulled us in (since Lucy is currently fascinated by birds)- I'm not sure- but I am so glad we brought this one home from the library. The poems are simple, lovely and relatable- if you are intimidated by reading poetry with your kids, this book makes it easy. This would be a good choice to add to your family library and keep out all year long...but since spring is the first season of the year, now is a perfect time to start! I now have it in my Amazon cart and am just waiting for the right moment to buy it.

What's your favorite springtime book? (And what's your favorite time of day to read aloud with your kids?)

Linking up today with Rachel for Five Favorites, because sometimes good things come in fives.

Those are all Amazon links, so if you click through and end up purchasing any of these, your purchase helps support this blog (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for those of you that do that sometimes!