Sunday, 5 May 2013

Spring in the seasonal book basket

 This past Winter we introduced a seasonal book basket to the nature table (otherwise known as the windowsill), around the time of the Spring equinox we replaced the much read and loved Winter books with Spring books, some old and some new.


Mama, is it Summer yet? by Nikki McClure

I've included this book first as it's my personal favourite, Nikki McClure writes and illustrates the book inspired after her son asked in Spring if it was Summer yet, throughout the story she shows him the wonders of Spring as he waits in anticipation for Summer. The story is set in nature and provides a good talking point comparing the stages of Spring in the book to what stage we are at now, we've discussed the budding blossoms, sowing seeds and nesting birds. The artist uses a cut paper technique (described by the author/artist in the back of the book) that is like nothing I have seen before, I have even considered buying another copy so that I can cut some of the pictures out and hang them up.

The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers
Written and illustrated by Sibylle von Olfers and first published in 1906, The Story of the Root Children tells the story of Mother Nature and The Root Children who live under ground all Winter and now must prepare for Spring. They sew flower dresses, wake the bugs and wash and paint the ladybirds and beetles before leaving to venture into the Spring sunshine, the story then follows them through Summer and Autumn before they return once again underground for Winter.   

Spring - Nature activities for children by Irmgard Kutch and Brigette Walden
One of a four seasons series, nature activities for children takes you through the month with seasonal activities from sprouting seeds and making natural dyes to keeping bees and building willow structures, it is suitable for all ages and I can tell that we are going to get a lot of use from it over the years. The book also includes seasonal poems, songs and short stories and has a brilliant introduction that discusses the importance and benefits of children having the opportunity to connect with nature. This is the first of these books that we have bought and I will definitely be getting the next one, the instructions make the activities easy and simple to do and it inspires and motivates you to make the most out of  and really immerse yourself in nature.

How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski
How a seed grows is part of the American 'Let's Read and Find Out Science' series of books and this one is part story, part activity, it starts by telling of the different kinds of seeds and how some grow quickly and some grow slowly to make all different kinds of plants, then continues on to an activity where the child plants seeds in 12 egg shells and unearths one each day for two weeks to examine the growth each day and at the end they are planted, we haven't done the activity yet but Seth enjoys looking at the illustrations of the different stages and comparing them to the seeds in the garden. The only thing I don't like in the book is that, as I said being American, it has some American language in it and I wish that they could produce a British version to prevent confusion, other than that it is a good age appropriate educational book and is enough to convince me to try a couple more in the series. 

Spring by Gerda Muller

This is our third book of the four seasons series so it's safe to say we are big fans here, it is a picture book of beautiful Spring scenes that inspires discussion and story telling... much story telling. I never expected that when I got our first one of these books last Summer that it would be such a hit, but we can spend ages looking through it at all the little details in each picture, telling different stories about what could be happening on each page and imagining what the characters are saying, thinking and feeling. It is most definitely a favourite and will be hanging around for some years to come.

Spring - A collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for young children  
Spring published by Wynstones Press is a collection of poems, short stories and songs with accompanying music collected from Steiner Waldorf schools around the world, it is packed full with something for every aspect of the season so there is always something appropriate and fitting to read and enjoy. After purchasing the Winter version I wasn't sure whether to get anymore as it had a lot of Christian content so much of it we weren't able to relate to or needed a bit of explaining but I'm glad that we gave it another go because this book has much more in it for us to use and enjoy.

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