Isn’t there just something about spring that brings a sense of hope and a promise of new things to come? This time of year I can start to feel the overwhelm of pushing through this last quarter of the school year. It’s also the time of year when I revamp our homeschool routine a bit to give everyone a fresh focus.
One of the activities that we still keep in our routine is read aloud time. I love returning home with our library haul and watching how the kids, one by one, eventually can’t help but grab a picture book to see what’s waiting inside.
Fortunately, we were able to stock up on some spring reads before we had to shelter-in-place. I wanted to share some great books (Amazon links included!) to read with your children if you’re getting as excited about spring weather as we are. It just so happens that these books fit into three themes: gardening, birds, and water.
I like that this book isn’t about what you might expect for a flower garden. The story brings you to an urban setting where a girl and her dad create a window box as a surprise for her mother.
Garden on the checkout stand
I can hardly wait.
Garden in a cardboard box
Walking to the bus.
2. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Like a crescendo in a musical piece, the vibrancy of the illustrations in this book builds with each page turn as the garden blooms. A little red-headed boy Liam takes on the task of caring for a struggling garden, and his patience pays off in a marvelous way that benefits his whole neighborhood.
… the plants were dying. They needed a gardener. Liam may not have been a gardener, but he new he could help.
And Then It’s Spring relates the feelings of anticipation that come after a snow-filled winter is replaced with brown all around. A boy and his dog resolve to plant a garden as they await the hopeful shades of spring to emerge.
First you have brown, all around you have brown
Then there are seeds and a wish for rain
If you’ve never read the timeless story of Alice Rumphius, may I urge you to do so? This book is really something special! The narrative is rich and delightful as Miss Rumphius details an adventure-filled life. Many generations will be influenced by the wonderful message to make the world a more beautiful place.
Alice would say, “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea”
“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.”
“What is that?” Asked Alice.
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather.
Another classic book! Children will be amused by Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s search for a safe place to raise their ducklings. Besides enjoying this warm and gently story, children will be introduced to duck behavior from egg to adult. The sepia-toned illustrations depict many scenes from Boston, Massachusetts, in different perspectives from the bird’s eye view in flight to the duckling’s ground level view. Children are sure to fall in love with little Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.
“Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!” went Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, just as loud as their little quackers could quack. The cars kept speeding by and honking, and Mrs. Mallard and the ducklings kept right on quack-quack-quacking.
This soothing bedtime book with rhyming text portrays many species of birds nests, from terns upon high cliffs to swallows above barn doors. A mother describes all the nests of baby birds while easing her little one to sleep with a gentle refrain.
Grackles nest in high fir trees,
Terns all nest in colonies
Upon high cliffs, above rough seas,
But you nest here with me.
Are you fascinated by woodpeckers? I can’t seem to take my eyes off them when I’m fortunate enough to spot them in our yard. With simple yet informative writing that engages the reader, the author introduces a variety of woodpecker species in the pages of this book. The lyrical verse is fun to read as you get an up close view of everyday bird life. My 3rd-grader recognized many of the bird habits we’ve been studying in science this year, such as how birds sunbathe, preen, nest, and communicate.
Swoop and land.
Hitch and hop.
Shred the tree stump.
CHOP, CHIP, CHOP!
Don’t you love it when a book is a delight to read and is chock full of marvelous information? You are sure to recognize many of the amazing designs of nests mentioned in this science picture book. Not only does the 4-line rhyme flow with ease for younger readers, but there are also a few sentences elaborating on more detail for older readers. Can you guess which bird’s nest this describes?
Mama built a little nest,
a cup so wee and snug,
with walls of moss and roof of sky
and silky, cobweb rug.
Did you guess it right?
A hummingbird! And here’s the tidbit of information the author includes:
A hummingbird makes the smallest cup-shaped nest. It uses spiderweb so the little nest will stretch as the chicks grow.
The many forms that water takes are beautifully written out in verse in this poetic book. Beginning in springtime, the various roles of water are highlighted in a way that brings out a child-like delight.
Water can be a…
The illustrations give the words extra richness. For example, the page with “Picture catcher” has a little girl clad in her red raincoat and polka dot rain boots holding an umbrella and looking at her reflection in a puddle.
This book walks the reader through the various forms water takes throughout the year. Mixing science with poetic text, children are eased into an introduction to the water cycle. It reads like a beautiful picture book but explains this concept through kid-friendly experiences.
Where is the town?
Fog is fog unless…
it falls down.
What is that sound?
Rain is rain unless…
I just had to add one more bonus book, because who doesn’t love Frog and Toad? I’m such a huge fan of the Frog and Toad books because the power of friendship shines with these two. Kids will surely chuckle at these funny adventure stories. Any beginner reader will be drawn to the endearing characters of Frog and Toad.
”What you see is the clear warm light of April. And it means that we can begin a whole new year together, Toad. Think of it,” said Frog.
If you can’t find library books during this shelter-in-place period, now might be the time to download the Apple Book or Kindle Book version to freshen up your digital library, because reading with your children is the perfect way to encourage their imaginations to bloom.
If you enjoyed this list, please share with others!