Book Reviews: Children’s Selections for Spring
April 27, 2008, Epoch Times
Sowing seeds of appreciation for nature’s gifts
The onset of spring is an opportune time to celebrate burgeoning gardens and the reawakening of nature with the children in our lives. Beyond venturing outside and experiencing the season first-hand, budding nature-lovers can find inspiration from the following titles, available in bookstores now.
For very young readers, two brightly colored classics by writer/illustrator Lois Elhert’s Planting a Rainbowand Growing Vegetable Soup are each available in lap-sized, board-book format. Growing Vegetable Soup takes the reader through the process of growing, harvesting, and preparing all the elements of vegetable soup. There are detailed labels of each vegetable and tool used in the process and a recipe on the back of the book.
Similarly, Planting a Rainbow lays out the process of establishing different elements of a colorful flower garden. In each, the opportunity for education (whether related to how things grow, vocabulary, colors, cooking, and the like) abound.
Flower Garden, by Eve Bunting, also available in board-book format, tells the tale of a young girl in the city who plants a window flower garden with her father for her mother’s birthday. The illustrations by Kathryn Hewitt are delightful and the story joyful.
To Be Like the Sun is a new story from Susan Marie Swanson and illustrates a young girl nourishing a sunflower seed throughout its life cycle on its quest “to be like the sun.” The illustrations by Margaret Chodos-Irvine are somewhat abstract and simplistic, but the use of color depicts the changes of season quite nicely. The diligent young gardener’s care and appreciation for her seedling makes this story a standout.
The Old Tree, by Ruth Brown, depicts the cooperative efforts of the residents of an old tree (a rabbit, a badger, a squirrel, a crow, and others) to save their home after finding that it has been marked to be cut down. The elaborate illustrations, including the pop-up surprise at the end, give great life to this tale, and the focus on conservation offers the reader some food for thought.
For the more advanced reader, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, lives on as an enduring classic and is sure to add color to any complexion upon reading it. This novel was republished last year by Candlewick Press, featuring the beautiful illustrations of Inga Moore. This is a must-have for any young person’s library.
Spring is an enjoyable time to appreciate all that is transpiring in our environment. Be warned—your young ones may be found digging in the dirt upon taking in any or all of these inspirational publications.