It’s spring! Here are a few books we’re reading, when we’re not out in the garden planting and weeding and watering.
Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato (DePaola, 1992) –
Regular readers know we are big fans of DePaola’s signature character Strega Nona. If I hadn’t written about her harvest story a short while ago, it would be on this list for sure. This retelling of an Irish folktale tells a somewhat similar tale of a lazy gardener surprised by the bounty he brings forth from the land. Parents in need of a moment might enjoy sharing this YouTube reading with their kids if they can’t easily get their hands on a bound copy.
Sophie’s Squash (MIller/Wilsdorf, 2013)
This book follows Sophie as she adopts a squash from the farmers market that her parents had intended to cook up for dinner. Sophie tends to her “baby” day and night, bringing her all over town and tucking her into her crib. Reminds me of the home economics project folks did way back when in which we’d carry an egg or a sack of sugar around for a week to get a sense of what it would be like to be a parent. Now that I have a real live baby, I truly understand how absurd that exercise was. But Bernice the Butternut was as real to Sophie as any baby doll might be. The story cleverly wraps itself back to a new beginning while subtly educating readers about the magic of saving seeds and composting.
Tops and Bottoms (Stevens, 1995)
I love the illustrations, as well as the story, in this Caldecott award-winning book. As the dust jacket suggests, they highlight the author’s “talent for painting vegetables of all sorts.” They also inform young readers about the ways vegetables grow and introduce the fact that some plants are prized for what grows above the ground, others for what is buried down below. Again, a YouTube reading is available for those building a library of books on the web for young readers.
Hope you find inspiration to get growing from one of these great books!