scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source
We enjoyed Joyce Sidman's nature poetry in Winter Bees (review here), and were glad to find another collection with a spring theme in Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow, which we read to finish out the school year this year.
These poems also work as riddles. Each page contains two poems about different aspects of nature in the meadow -- sometimes rodents or bugs, but other times nonliving things like sun and rain. The two answers to the riddle are connected somehow (and described in prose on the page after each riddle), sometimes in more obvious ways than others (butterflies and milkweed, for example), but overall this book helps to show the interconnectedness of all parts of nature when they inhabit the same environment.
A lovely investigation into nature in spring!
Scrounged From: A used book sale
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Content Advisory: None
Winter has its perks, but as a resident of New England I am more than ready for spring by the time it finally gets here! Here are some picture books to help celebrate spring, or at least to usher in its approach.
"Every year Mom and I plant a rainbow." Planting a Rainbow is a simple description of how a flower garden takes shape during the spring. The narrator and their mother plant seeds, bulbs, and seedlings in red, orange, yellow, even green (ferns), blue, and purple. Lois Ehlert's colorful illustrations focus solely on the flowers and dirt, and show as they grow from tiny plants to full-fledged blooms -- a lovely and colorful celebration of new life during spring!
Rechenka's Eggs, by Patricia Polacco, is a sweet Russion story of Babushka, a skilled egg decorator, who saves an injured goose one day. When the goose accidentally destroys her decorated eggs she is upset, but she finds that "miracles" can happen as "Rechenka" the goose begins producing beautifully decorated eggs all on her own! The illustrations here are detailed and colorful, showing us a few aspects of Russian culture, and an even sweeter surprise for Babushka at the end. This also makes a great Easter story.
For those of us for whom spring just can't come quickly enough, And Then It's Spring, by Julie Fogliano, perfectly captures the waiting and wondering that happens every year -- we plant our seeds and it's still brown, brown, brown... we wonder, is it really going to come? But then it does! Erin Stead's lovely pastel colors capture both the browns that seem to last forever, and the greens that finally come at the end of all that waiting.
Speaking of waiting for spring, Spring for Sophie shows us this wondering and impatience from a child's perspective. Sophie keeps asking her parents how she will know when spring gets there. They tell her to use her senses to observe the changes: the squishiness of the ground, the sounds of the birds, the rain that falls which finally turns everything green, and then maybe at that point spring will finally be there.
Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes, is a short book about a bear who hibernates through the winter and has a fantastical dream about every season -- from fall-colored fish to giant flowers in spring. But then at the end he waskes up to discover that it really is spring, and time for him to come out. Also by Kevin Henkes, see Egg for some more lovely spring pastel colors.
Sakura's Cherry Blossoms is a sweet story about a girl who has to leave her home in Japan, including her grandmother. She and her grandmother used to sit together and eat under a cherry tree as it blossomed, and in America she does not see any cherry trees. Learning English and making friends are difficult things that she has to navigate in this new place.
The story touches on feelings of loss, not just of place, but of people we love (it doesn't specifically mention that Sakura's grandmother dies, but she does go back to visit her one last time to say goodbye, so it is assumed).
In the end, Sakura is sad but makes a friend, and learns to find things in her new home that help her remind her of her grandmother -- especially when spring comes and she realizes that some places in the US have cherry trees too!
The last page of the book explains that this story is written entirely in the "tanka" style of Japanese poetry, which is similar to haiku but includes two longer lines at the end as well. The phrasing and structure of some of the lines made more sense to me after this.
(In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received this book for free through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I was not required to write a positive review.)
Scrounged From: A LibraryThing giveaway
Author: Robert Paul Weston
Illustrator: Misa Saburi
Content Advisory: Sakura misses her grandmother and expresses sadness about leaving her (death is not explicitly mentioned, but illness is).