Mother nature has some sense of humor.
Though it’s technically been spring for quite some time now, and summer is just around the corner, in Utah, it’s been a wet, miserable start to the “growing season.” In fact, we just narrowly missed breaking the record of wettest spring. But today the sun is out, and it’s finally “play-outside weather.”
And what better way to celebrate than to grab a blanket and some books and head outside for some nature reading.
The following are some spectacular picture books that will help young readers embrace all nature has to offer.
Bloom Boom!, by April Pulley Sayre, Beach Lane Books, Feb. 5, 2019, hardcover, $17.99 (ages 2-5)
When spring arrives, flowers of all kinds sprout and grow buds and bloom. Sometimes, they bloom a few at a time. But other times, many will bloom at once in a colorful flower boom! This photographic exploration of flowers goes from the desert to the woodlands and beyond.
Bloom Boom! features gorgeous photographic spreads that range from panoramic to close-up. Each photo is accompanied by simple phrases — “Petals curve. Insects swerve.” I love the simplicity of the design, which lets the images take center stage. However, I did find myself supplementing information with my own personal knowledge as my daughter began asking more pointed questions.
The publisher’s suggested age range for Bloom Boom! is 3-7, but I think any child over the age of 5 is going to want more text within the pictures. There are two pages at the back that explain more about the boom of blooms, but it’s solid text with no photos. The next two pages go into more detail about the individual blooms featured throughout the book. But again, it’s text heavy compared to the two-word sentences throughout the body.
My Tree and Me: A Book of Seasons (Growing Hearts), by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey, Harry N. Abrams, April 2, 2019, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 2-6)
One little girl has a very special friend, the tall ancient tree in her backyard. Through the seasons, she grows along with the tree, playing in its branches and basking in its shade. She can swing and have a picnic, draw the tree and play hide and go seek. Through her time with her tree, the girl learns to appreciate the natural world as something to be savored and protected and acknowledges her place within it. — Synopsis Provided by Abrams
My Tree and Me: A Book of Seasons is the eighth and final book in the Growing Hearts series, which focuses on emotional development. We’ve loved these books — we now have five. And they’ve been a great resource for my growing daughter. From innovative page design to sweet illustrations and on-point text, they’re all worth reading.
And while the publisher’s suggested age range for this series is 2-4, I feel like it has a grounding effect that is helpful as children enter school. My daughter is 5, and we read With My Daddy last night. And now that she can read most of the words herself, it’s as if she’s taking ownership of what’s going on. I have a feeling that these will remain in rotation through the end of kindergarten.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar, by Ross Burach , Scholastic Press, Feb. 26, 2019, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
The Very Impatient Caterpillar follows a caterpillar through the process of metamorphosis. The caterpillar starts out not knowing he can transform into a butterfly, but once he does, he realizes that it’s going to take a long time.
A. Very. Long. Time.
Like two whole weeks long time.
But if the little caterpillar can just learn to be patient, he just might become a beautiful butterfly.
This is a silly book that gets kids giggling from Page 1. We’ve “grown” butterflies in the past, and I can’t help but think this book would be an awesome addition to the process.
In Blossom, by Cheon Yooju, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books; New edition, Jan. 15, 2019, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-6)
Cats and dogs are often pitted as enemies, but things are exactly the opposite in In Blossom. One day, a cat and dog meet on a bench. The cat eats her lunch. The dog reads his book. The sun is twinkling and a breeze is blowing, and one tree blossom has the possibility to bring two strangers together.
In Blossom is a quiet, muted book that asks the reader to read more into what’s going on than what’s written on the page. The subtleties here will resonate with introverts in particular.
Trees: A Rooted History, by Piotr Socha and Wojciech Grajkowski, Harry N. Abrams, April 9, 2019, Hardcover, $24.99 (ages 8-12 or 5 and up with grownup help)
Trees explores the important roles trees play in our ecosystem, takes an up-close-and-personal look at the parts of trees (from roots to leaves), and unpacks the cultural impact of trees from classification systems (like family trees) to art forms (like bonsai trees). Looking forward, Trees also addresses the deforestation crisis. —Synopsis provided by Abrams
As has been the case with other books in the above list, I disagree with the recommended age for Trees. Yes, the amount of text requires a strong reader, but the illustrations practically call out to readers of all ages. My child loves nature, trees and plants. She’s drawn to Trees, and so I cherry-pick elements tailored to her current questions and interests. I have no doubt that as her reading abilities strengthen, so will her love of this book.