Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Ahhh…Spring!  Spring is so full of hope.  The lengthening days and the milder temperatures make up for the rain and mud.  And I discovered, as I was gathering my spring book list, that spring is full of poetry.  (Why haven’t I noticed this before?)

As a child, I learned this rhyme: “Spring has sprung!  The grass is riz.  I wonder where the birdies is???”  I’m not quite sure why the birds haven’t arrived (especially since the robin is the harbinger of spring), but every spring that rhyme pops into my head.  My children will probably learn this silly, grammatically incorrect, and enigmatic poem.  Can I even call it a poem?  Enjoy these book selections that feature truly talented poets and authors who use poetic language to describe this beautiful season.

Spring : an alphabet acrostic (Author: Steven Schnur ; Illustrator: Leslie Evans) – Walk through the alphabet this spring, starting with A for April and ending with the Zucchinis of summer.  Each letter features a haiku-type acrostic poem which simply and elegantly describes a part of spring.

Handsprings (poems & paintings by Douglas Florian) – Douglas Florian’s rhymes highlight all that spring has to offer; the highs and the lows (See his back-to-back poems: “What I Love About Spring” and “What I Hate About Spring”).  He offers a variety of styles, from list poems to concrete poetry.  His poems are short and springy (no pun intended!), with none taking up more than one page and each is illustrated.  This seasonal collection is perfect for the classroom or a quick read-aloud at home to dip in and out of.

and then it’s spring (Author: Julie Fogliano; Illustrator: Erin E. Stread) – This beautifully sparse book begins: “First you have brown, all around you have brown/ then there are seeds”.  It is hopeful, discovering the slow, yet unstoppable progress of the seasons changing.  The woodblock print/pencil illustrations are a gorgeous accompaniment to the colorful text.

Mud (Author: Mary Lyn Ray; Illustrator: Lauren Stringer) – This book has the feeling of free verse.  My favorite line from this book: “Someone opening a door will notice: earth comes unfrozen.”  The illustrations shout for joy along with the text at the opportunity to squish mud between fingers and toes.  An exuberant celebration of spring!

I’d also like to mention two early readers about spring:

Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble (Author: Cynthia Rylant; Illustrator: Sucie Stevenson)

Poppleton in Spring (Author: Cynthia Rylant; Illustrator: Mark Teague)

I highly recommend the Henry and Mudge series and the Poppleton series as read-alouds for the preschool set or read-to-myself books for 1st-3rd graders.

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