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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'seasons'.

Winter Bees is a wonderful picture book of Joyce Sidman's poetry, especially fitting for those who live in a cold climate like we do. Have you ever wondered where bees go in the winter? Or voles, or beavers? This book contains a double-page spread on each featured piece of nature (mostly animals), containing a poem and then a few paragraphs of information about how the animal gets through winter, which helps to fill out the information in the poem.

The poetry here is lovely, and full of clever descriptive phrases. Most poems are of moderate length, managing to communicate a clear picture of winter survival without becoming repetitive or overly wordy.

Bees are "an ancient tribe, a hardy scrum... Together, we boil, we teem, we hum."

Snoflakes are "a lattice of stars spinning silently..."

A raven is a "Squawker, Croaker, Alarm-on-the-wind."

The poem about beavers is written as a pantoum, a poetry form that I don't remember encountering before, featuring some neat repetition of lines.

The illustrations here are amazing -- colorful, full of texture and life. I especially love how a long picture of a branch is drawn as moving from autumn to winter at the beginning of the book, and then again at the end it is shown morphing from winter into spring. 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Rick Allen
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

In New England, September and October are especially beautiful seasons -- it gets cooler (and sometimes quite cold) and the leaves turn gorgeous colors before falling. We enjoy apple-picking and harvesting pumpkins before the weather gets really cold. Here are some of our favorite picture books that involve the season of autumn (minus Halloween -- that will be a separate list). 


We really enjoy Wild Child, a book that celebrates the colors and features of autumn by personifying the season as a young girl who doesn't want to go to bed, while Mother Earth helps her with her various fall-like requests before she's finally able to slumber. See my full review here.


In November, by Cynthia Rylant, highlights changes in the world as November comes along. For me, November tends to be when autumn stops being fun, because the leaves are all brown and dead, and the air starts getting cold in earnest. But this is a nice reminder of all the things that are still going on in nature, and the warmth and joy to be found in human gatherings and food.


I love the vibrant colors and contrast of blue with the warmer autumn tones in In the Middle of Fall, by Kevin Henkes. This book observes and meditates on many of the different changes that take place in nature during autumn, and even encourages us to stop and pay attention to the little things due to the inevitability of time moving onward. Fun and lovely, but can also make you think.


Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, by Kenard Pak, follows a girl as she walks through her neighborhood observing the changing of the season from summer to autumn. She asks simple questions of the things she sees, which may get a bit repetitive, but works nicely for young children, and includes beautiful fall colors in its illustrations.


Hardscrabble Harvest, by Dahlov Ipcar, is probably not an easy book to find, but I really enjoy the rhyming text that celebrates the culmination of many months of work on a farm -- harvest. While the colors are very clearly "70s" in nature, they actually work quite well for fall. I appreciate that this book touches on some of the difficulties of farming rather than romanticizing it. Singer Priscilla Herdman even turned the text into a song, which can be viewed as a video here.

Wild Child is a fun picture book with beautiful illustrations, in which the season of autumn is personified as a young child who isn't quite ready to go to bed, and so gets a snack (apples, pumpkins), PJs (bright-colored leaves), etc. before finally going to bed (and ushering in winter). When it comes to illustrations I apparently tend to favor cooler tones, because there seem to be a lot of blues in my favorite covers/illustrations, but this is one case where the warmth of reds and oranges is very well presented. I also like the rhythm of the text.

This is also a great example of a metaphor for younger children -- my son kept asking about the child and why her mother (Mother Earth) was made of rocks, etc., so it was a nice opportunity to attempt explaining how one thing can be used to represent something else.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Lynn Plourde
Illustrator: Greg Couch
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Tree is a beautiful and vibrant celebration of trees and some of their purposes in nature, covering the ways they change throughout the seasons. I love the colors (even though they're occasionally unconventional) and the different aspects of nature that are represented -- birds, bees, rodents, flowers, fruit, etc.

The cut-outs in the pages and the owl make even more visual enjoyment for young kids, and the rhyming text is evocative and linear as it leads us gently through the year, inviting us to observe the different effects that the seasons have on the same tree. 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Patricia Hegarty
Illustrator: Britta Teckentrup
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Summer in literature is often seen as a time of adventure and exploration -- but it can also be a time to stop, relax, and enjoy nature. Regardless, here are some picture books we really enjoy, that seem to embody the spirit of summer.

Time of Wonder is a classic McCloskey book (winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1958) that I read as a child, but I'm not sure I really came to appreciate it much until adulthood. The text is very evocative, and written from a second-person perspective, but it is also fairly wordy for a picture book, especially since it doesn't really tell much of a story until closer to the end. I think this might make it less accessible to some children, especially younger ones. However, both of my kids have seemed to enjoy it at various points, especially reading about the storm at the end, and how the people and creatures prepare for and clean up after it. By the end, the sadness at leaving that place and going back to school feels very real.


Flotsam is David Wiesner's fantasy story (winner of the Caldecott Medal in 2007) provides a secret view into what fish and other sea creatures are really up to down in the deep ocean, as discovered by a boy who finds a mysterious old camera that washes up on the beach. The story is told without any text at all, and while fairly simple, also manages to be absurd and mysterious, and the wordless nature of the book leaves some aspects and questions open to interpretation by the reader. 


Probably not many Americans are familiar with Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge series, but growing up in Britain, I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to it there and grew up with this sweet wedding story from the series. Summer is definitely "wedding season," yet I haven't found many picture books featuring weddings that aren't completely "about" them. This one covers the nuptials of Poppy and Dusty, two mice who decide to get married on a barge in the middle of a stream on a warm summer day. While it focuses on the wedding and preparations, the story doesn't get bogged down in the details, and leaves room for character development and lovely, detailed illustrations of the setting, including the mill (which Dusty oversees) and the intricate inner workings of the "dairy stump" (which Poppy oversees). It is really very evocative of summer in the British countryside, and as I've said before, no one seems to anthropomorphize rodents quite as well as the British.


Grains of sand is a short and simple story of two children's summertime imaginings as they bring some sand home from the beach and wonder what would happen if they planted it. Nice illustrations as well -- see my full review here.


While Finding Wild is not necessarily about summer, it does embody the adventurous spirit that is so often a part of summer vacations and escapes. This book explores the concept of "wild" -- what is it, where is it, and how do you find it? Is it scary? Is it harmless? It may be harder to find in more populous areas, but it's still there -- if you look! See my full review here.

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