My crocuses are up which means one thing. Spring is on its way! I thought I would gather some of the Spring books I will be sharing with my students as well as other favorites that I love to read in the spring. Do you have a favorite title that you like to read in the spring that is not included? Tell everyone a little bit about it in comments or on No Time For Flash Cards Facebook Page!
A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a fresh and richly illustrated alphabet book. What I think the main benefit of this book is, is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words used are things like Japanese Garden for J; Lawn Ornaments for L and my favorite was Underground for U with cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables, and plant roots as well.
White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it, you must. Instead, it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing. The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dying Easter eggs which are another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun, and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.
The book Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner is a good book for little ones interested in bugs, but not ready for a full nonfiction science book. Facts are given on the various bugs introduced in the book. The coolest part of the book is the page with the life-size illustrations of all the bugs. The illustrations are bright and fun, and the length is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.
Duckie’s Rainbow by Frances Barry is a clever little book; you walk with her as she passes things like a yellow cornfield and blue pond until the pages above create a rainbow. I love the idea but reading it with my son (who was two at the time) all he wanted to do was turn the pages as quickly as he could to make the rainbow. Not a big deal but this would make a better story time book than a bedtime one for that reason.
I Love The Rain by Margaret Park Bridges is a sweet book about celebrating wet weather instead of hiding from it. Two little girls are on their way home from school, one hiding under her umbrella the other tongue out loving the rain. With a little encouragement, both girls love all the amazing things about rainy weather, from racing raindrops on the bus windows to comparing the sounds of the rain to tap dancers! Living on the rainy west coast, I love books about rain, and it was an instant hit with my son.
Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about two friends who must find part ways, in this case, because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/butterfly it also is useful for a lesson about the days of the weeks and healthy eating! It was a childhood favorite of mine and if the fact that he fell asleep holding his “Pillar” is any indication it is already one of my son’s favorites too!
Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book) by Olivier Durea is a cute book about friends working hard on dyeing their Easter eggs, well all but one Ollie who is playing and looking incredibly adorable in bunny ears while the others work hard. However Ollie may have missed out on dyeing the eggs, but he makes up for it by masterminding a true egg hunt! My four-year-old son loved this book and how sneaky Ollie was as he snatched the hidden dyed eggs and re-hid them! Cute addition to this popular series.
Daddies and Their Babies (Black And White) by Guido Van Genechten is a simple black and white board book pairing animals dads with their offspring. The book teaches the proper name for the animal babies (like piglet for a hedgehog and calf for rhino), but the power in this book is much more subtle than that. The power is simply in having a book with daddies and babies without a mama around. So often daddies are just added in for a family book, but there are tons of books all about mommies and babies. I like the simplicity of this book and the message that babies and daddies belong together.
Is Your Mama a Llama? By Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite this book by heart. Readers follow Lloyd, the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he finds the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.
Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek is stunning. I love this author, but this book is absolutely about the pictures. The cover is beautiful, but there are pages that I just wanted to look at the way I look at paintings at a museum. The book is perfect for toddlers and young preschooler, it’s nonfiction, simple and has a great flow. The colors are so vibrant I would bet that infants would dig it too! Awesome awesome awesome!
Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horaeck is such a wonderful book! I love the simple text and engaging story about a little girl who is trying to find the butterfly that she saw the day before. In her attempts, she finds many other colorful bugs in her garden. At the end of the book is a beautiful pop-up butterfly that will delight your little readers. I read this to a class of 2 and 3-year-olds who were glued to every page. My 3 and 7-year-old loved this book as well. Great book!
Where is Baby’s Mommy? By Karen Katz is the perfect book for your tiniest book lover. It is bright, cheery and will grow with your child from the first few months through their toddler years. The story is simple, a baby and mom are playing hide and seek, you play along with them by lifting the flaps to reveal where mommy is. My daughter has loved these books for years and even though we read much more complicated books now that she is almost four we go back to these old favorites a lot.
The EARTH Book by Todd Parr is a great Earth Day book for preschoolers and young elementary aged kids. It focuses on small everyday steps kids can take to help the environment as well as how these little everyday measures help. The way the text is written it begs for discussion. Whether you are reading it to a class of 25 or in bed with your only child. Add Parr’s wonderfully whimsical, bright, bold illustrations and you have a super Earth Day book.
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2-year-old, I skipped some pages. It’s a little long for him still, but 3-5-year-olds are the perfect age for this nonfiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head.
The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed. The story is very sweet; it’s about a grandmother taking her young granddaughter on a surprise outing in Tokyo. It turns out that she is taking her to see the cherry trees in full bloom just as her grandmother had done with her. It’s a nice look at the softer side of Tokyo, a city I know I always imagine as only steel, cement, and neon lights!
Father’s Day by Anne Rockwell. I really liked this book; it is about a class full of students writing stories about their dads at school. They end with a party where they present the books to their fathers. What I enjoyed was the diversity of this book. It covered all different kinds of dads and children and all the things they most enjoy doing together. My son was rather attached to the dad and son playing soccer. And I had a mean craving for chocolate after reading the page with a dad and daughter making fudge! A wonderful activity after reading this book would be to write your own story!
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a classic book about conservation. The rhymes will enchant you, but it’s really not a book for preschoolers. Some preschoolers will sit for it, but it’s a long book and a great pick for school age kids. If you aren’t familiar with it has a dark beginning. Then as the story progresses its cautionary tale takes shape. It’s hard to try to explain to young kids how protecting the environment isn’t just a nice thing to do. But a responsibility we have, and this book helps get that point across.
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw went perfectly with our activity. In the book, all different shapes are shown. The readers can guess they look like ice cream cones, a bird, but really they are all clouds. After reading this simple book I like going outside to see the clouds. Looking to see what shapes, and objects we can find in them.
The Best Easter Eggs Ever! by Jerry Smath. The story follows the Easter bunny and his three young assistant bunnies as they prepare for their big day. The Easter Bunny is tired and a little bored of his polka dot design for the eggs. He decides to send out his assistants in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. One bunny is captivated by the night sky, she doesn’t notice how dark it is and how lost she has gotten. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her. The new designs are celebrated in the morning.
My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret places like the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop. He was drawn into this book immediately. I like the illustrations and how detailed they were, it certainly got me excited about Easter.
I Love Bugs!by Philemon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction, but I would consider it as non-fiction. It really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/young preschoolers. It’s really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up. But it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under three crowd, and useful for older kids too!
Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson is a sweet almost saccharine book about a little chick that may be small but is just as capable as everyone else. Honestly, I was sorta lukewarm to the story. When I sat down to write about it, I had to grab the book to remember what I wanted to say. This is normally a big clue that it is not too memorable. What I didn’t forget was how much I loved the illustrations by John Butler. Soft, gentle, feathery illustrations of farm animals that are full of realistic detail. We all loved the illustrations. SO while there was nothing wrong or off-putting about the text. It didn’t leave a lasting impression for me. But the illustrations are what make this book stand out.
Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington is another wonderful book from one of our favorite authors. In the book, Gabby and her Grandma spend a day together dedicated to going green. First making a great reusable bag and then using it all around town. When they go to the library, it is portrayed as the way to go green as well as a place to learn more about environmental efforts. Also showing ways to make a difference at the grocery store is perfect for young kids who are often tagging along with parents on these errands. I can’t end the review without also mentioning the baby sibling who is sleeping in a sling at the end of the book. I love seeing babywearing in books! This is a great environment-themed book that works all year round not just for Earth Day.
Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just for teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die. She then collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost three-year-old. But there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs. In this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.
Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley is a cute introduction to an environmental theme for toddlers. The book is a lift the flap format and the pages are extra sturdy for fumbly toddler fingers. I love the illustrations by Kate Endle! They bring the super simple text to life and get across the point that even little kids can help the earth. I read this last night to my almost four year old who loved it still.
If you teach preschool you have to check out my new ebook!