I know that spring doesn't officially arrive until the 21st. Heck! We're still buried up to our (check appropriate box: __knees, __ belts, __ neck) in snow... but I can't stand it anymore. So I'm pushing spring. Now. Today. Because any week now, you'll begin to hear the sounds of ice breaking up.
by Marion Dane Bauer; illus. by John Shelley
32 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2015
theme: seasons, friendship
"Have you ever awakened on a late winter night to a peculiar noise? Something like rap, bap, tap, and then crunch, scrunch, followed by crinkle, crackle, crack?"
Over the course of the story, a pajama-clad boy heads off with a bear to find spring. They're joined by other animals: rabbit, squirrel, beaver.... and eventually, deep in the woods, discover the secret of spring (I won't spoil it for you).
What I like about this book: The language is playful and fun. Lots of end-of-winter noises that you might hear around your house: creaks, snaps, raps and taps, crackle-crack, slaps and whacks. I also like how the boy and bear walk "hand in paw, paw in hand", and the most excellent description of the end of winter: mud, rotten snow, and trees shivering in the dark.
Beyond the book: What does the end of winter look like / sound like around your house?
Go on a night walk, like boy and bear. Look at the stars, listen to night noises, sniff the night air.
How does the snow melt in your yard? Measure snow depth and keep track of daily temperatures. Graph the shrinking snow piles. Where does it puddle when it melts? Where does it run off in tiny rivulets?
Take photos of one particular place every day for the next six weeks. What happens?
Map the changing season. If you like to draw treasure maps, maybe you can find the X that marks the spot where spring comes first to your yard. Note where snow melts fastest, where the sunny spots and shady spots are, and where the squirrels and crows tend to hang out.
Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) over at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of
Perfect Picture Books. Review copy from the publisher.