'The sun is nervous
As a kite
That can't quite keep
Its own string tight.
Some days are fair,
And some are raw.
The timid earth
Decides to thaw.
Shy budlets peep
From twigs on trees,
And robins join
Poke through the ground
Like noses come
To sniff around.
The mud smells happy
On our shoes.
We still wear mittens
Which we lose.'
March by John Updike (taken from A Child's Calendar)
Ahhh, Spring... so full of promise, with the days getting lighter and warmer, everything bursting into life, and summer still ahead. Here are our favourite books for the coming season...
For Baby and Toddler:
This book is one of a series of four; one for each of the seasons. Like the others in this series, Spring is a wordless board book, so suitable for the very youngest children, with simple, realistic illustrations depicting familiar Spring-time scenes. My experience has been that babies and toddlers often reach for these books because the lack of text presents a wonderful opportunity to support early language development. Sharing their own contributions helps young children to make sense of the world, linking their own experiences with what they see depicted in the illustrations. The adult can extend their understanding by introducing new vocabulary, asking open questions and describing the scenes in more detail.
At 8 years old, Bean still enjoys looking at the pictures in this one, and we share our memories of the season... feeding the lambs at Granny's neighbouring farm, rescuing baby birds after they've flown into the window, blowing and painting eggs for the Easter tree etc. or we make up our own stories. This book also makes a beautiful addition to your nature table. If I was going to choose just one Spring book, it'd be this one.
For Preschoolers (age 2-6 ish):
This is one of a collection of ten books by Shirley Hughes, featuring short stories and poems. The collection includes one book for each of the seasons, plus other concepts such as colours, numbers, sizes etc. Sadly, they don't seem to be available to purchase individually, but I highly recommend the collection as a whole.
Shirley Hughes' books are completely timeless, and wonderfully relevant and interesting to young children. The illustrations are beautifully observed and detailed, and the text simple but relatable. I am a HUGE Shirley Hughes fan, and feel so sad that Bean is beginning to outgrow these at 8 years old. Sometimes she will indulge me if I include this book in our reading stack, and I think that, like me, she finds comfort in the familiarity. These books will form part of our heirloom collection, to pass down to my grandchildren one day!
For Children 5+ Years:
The Brambly Hedge stories were some of my favourites as a child, and I'm so delighted to now be sharing them with my own child. Like the other books featured here, this is one of a series, all of which I highly recommend. This particular story follows the mice of Brambly Hedge as they prepare food and festivities for Wilfred's birthday. With lots of evocative Spring time scenes, it's a lovely story to read at this time of year. The stories themselves are quite long, so I'd suggest that they're more suitable for children aged 5+, or those that are able to sit and listen to a longer story. The illustrations are absolutely exquisite, and we both love to pore over them as we read.
This book was written in the 1920's and, again, is one of a series. Each poem centres around a Spring flower, with a sweet little fairy illustration to accompany it. Perfect to bring a little fairy magic to your morning time basket, or for reading during your poetry tea time. I've seen these used for copy work too, as they're not too long.
This book is relatively new to our collection, and we've dipped in and out of it over the past few years. It covers some of the science involved in the Spring Equinox, and shows how it has been celebrated by various cultures throughout the ages and the world. It also includes suggestions for a few hands on activities. I'd recommend this one for children age 6+
I hope that you find this blog post interesting and useful. I'd be keen to hear of any Spring books you recommend, and will happily share them with our online community.
With love, Rowan x
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.