I had planned on discussing Seasons by Anne Crausaz on the first day of Spring (Kane Miller, $15.99). But dammit it feels like spring now! However, believe me, I am well aware that around here spring in March does not guarantee spring in April. Seasons, as you might expect, moves through the four seasons of the year, starting with, “Everything is green. It must be springtime”. The text is fairly simple, but flows nicely from one season to the next, “Fireflies, like flying stars. Summer has arrived!” . . . “The colors have changed. Autumn is here.” . . . “Now the fog is so think it’s hard to see. It’s winter.” . . . “Because soon, the flowers will start growing up through the snow, ready for // spring.” Moreover, the illustrations are remarkable. The cover is a clear indicator of the illustrations inside the book. That bright, vibrant yellow, with the simple flowers and bird are lovely. Similarly, each page concentrates on one or two aspects of nature, allowing the reader to focus in on flowers, lady bugs, water, snails, and snowflakes. All of the children featured are shown engaging with and enjoying nature. From smelling the berries to playing in the leaves, the children are not simply watching the season pass, they are participating in the delights of each one.
The temperature has dropped significantly in the past couple of days. It might still be November, but there can be no doubt that winter is rushing towards us. Of course the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza books have been on display for a few weeks now, but there are plenty of great winter books that do not have any holiday affiliation. Sebastian Meschenmoser has written and illustrated a lovely picture book that is perfect for this time of year, when the air is that crisp clear cold and the snow has yet to make an appearance. In Waiting for Winter (KaneMiller, $15.99) squirrel and hedgehog are too young to remember the winters that Deer and Bear discuss. As much as the ‘old folk’ try to describe what winter looks and feels like, what the ‘young uns’ envision is significantly off the mark. Children 4-7 will be amused by the illustrations of falling, white toothbrushes and socks that convey squirrel’s misinterpretations. The silent moment when the first snowflake finally does fall is priceless, as is the beautiful blanketed forest at the end.
Books for babies is probably our most frequent request. My new personal baby book of choice is Haiku Baby by Betsy E. Snyder (Random House, $6.99). First, it’s just so pretty, but keep looking and it gets better and better. There are 7 tabs about different natural elements and rather incongruous animals with a haiku for each:
high on mountaintop,
hippo watches snowflakes dance—
winter has begun
The accompanying hippo, complete with pink scarf and bird, standing on a mountaintop and watching the snow flakes fall is priceless.
The book covers the various seasons and each page is equally delightful.
in tickly-toe grass,
a buttercup offers up
yellow nose kisses
“tickly-toe grass”?!?!? Can’t you feel it? The hard t, k, and g sounds evoke walking through the grass barefoot in the summer. I love that the words then smooth out into “yellow nose kisses”, perfect for laying outside perhaps snoozing in the afternoon sun.
These haikus dance off the tongue and are perfect for reading aloud while snuggling with a baby. But don’t neglect this book for toddlers up to 2. The illustrations are simple, but there is plenty to look at and offer interactive games. I suspect no one will be able to resist the invitation to tickle those little toes.