Spring has been a little tardy this year in some parts of the country, but a good book is just the thing to help our little ones wait for warmer days. This week I’m reading And Then It’s Spring, written by Julia Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.
This book is subtle and clever. It’s a patient book, for it’s meant to unfold slowly. A little boy waits for the first signs of spring, carefully watching his garden with his animal friends. Nothing seems to be happening, but keen young observers might notice that gradually the boy leaves off his scarf, and then his hat, and then his coat. The text reflects his hopeful mental meanderings as he devotedly guards his little patch of earth, trusting that the dormant season must surely end soon. Who couldn’t relate to that?
The illustrations are sweetly expressive, capturing our anticipation for springtime. There is a lot to notice in a way that particularly seems to fascinate toddler and preschool readers, and this would be a charming story time choice with children or groups up to first or second grade.
Some children will recognize and pick out the changes on each page themselves; some will enjoy having a grown-up help them look (and then notice those same changes each day in their own world); and some kids honestly might be a little bit bored with it. Spring, after all, can be slow to arrive. But that boredom is ok; it’s part of engaging with the natural world. However you think your child might respond, this book is well worth looking for at your library and it only takes a couple of minutes to read. If your child doesn’t want to read it again, follow their lead. However I suspect that you might be surprised by how much time you’ll spend poring over a book that looks so simple yet has so much to offer.
*Spoiler Alert* Spring finally does come in the end, to the boy’s obvious delight. And this story is so thoughtful that even the endpapers celebrate: the front pages are a pale winter blue, but the end pages are a vibrant spring blue. Here’s to spring!
If you liked this book you might also enjoy: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett