Month: March 2014

The Best Spring Picture Books | From Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsThe spring holidays seem to be bunching up together this year. No sooner did I put away the St. Patrick’s Day book basket, than I got out both our spring and Easter book baskets. Some of the best spring picture books that we have read this year have been:
The Carrot Seed – This book teaches the patience and technique of planting a seed and helping it grow. First published in 1945 and never out of print, this timeless combination of Ruth Krauss’s simple text and Crockett Johnson’s eloquent illustrations creates a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.
Emily and Daisy – Emily is a helpful little girl, so when her mummy is worried that Daisy the cow will escape into the clover field through a hole in the fence, she offers to go and look after Daisy for the day. On the way, she meets a big dog, a boastful boy and an old man with a sack. But when she gets to the meadow, she realises she needs help with Daisy, and to mend the fence. Who can she turn to? This is a delightful springtime picture book from Elsa Beskow. Young children will enjoy following Emily through her day as unexpectedly good things keep coming her way.
Flower Fairies of the Spring – First published in the 1920s, Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books have been loved for generations. Like the pre-Raphaelite painters whom she so admired, Barker believed in re-creating the beauty of nature in art and drawing from life. Her Flower Fairies watercolors have a unique combination of naturalism and fantasy that no imitators have matched.
Frog, Bee and Snail Look for Snow – Frog knows all about water. Bee knows all about the sky. And Snail knows all about the earth. So how come none of them know about snow? Waking from their winter sleep, the three friends are astonished to hear of a thing called snow that fell from the sky. Where is it hiding now? Determined to find out all about snow, they set off on a journey of discovery which takes them through the seasons.
Hedgie’s Surprise – Jan Brett’s beloved character Hedgie stars in this charming story about a little Tomten who gets tired of porridge for breakfast and starts stealing Henny’s eggs. But Henny wants a brood of chicks and she needs her eggs. With the help of clever Hedgie, she substitutes an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom and finally a potato in her nest. But nothing stops that Tomten until the little hedgehog hides in Henny’s nest: when the Tomten reaches in to get his morning treat, all he gets is a handful of prickles. He runs home for porridge and never comes back again! Intricate needlepoint patterns of Scandinavian designs frame the characters reacting from the borders in this beautiful picture book set in Denmark.
How Groundhog’s Garden Grew – Little Groundhog, in trouble for stealing from his friends’ gardens, is taught by Squirrel to grow his very own. From seed-gathering to planting, harvesting, and eating home-grown fruits and vegetables, children join Little Groundhog in learning about the gardening process. At the end, Little Groundhog invites his animal friends to a Thanksgiving harvest feast. Beautiful illustrations and thorough research on plants and insects make this sweet story an engrossing read, as well as a great picture-book introduction to how plants grow.
It’s Spring! – A beautifully illustrated rhyming story about spring. The robin told the rabbit… The rabbit told the deer… The deer told the duck… Then all the birds began to sing to tell the bears, “Wake up, it’s spring!” Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko’s breezy rhyming text and Melissa Sweet’s charming watercolor illustrations spread the news that spring is here!
Jack’s Garden – “Building on a rhyme that will be familiar to many children, author-illustrator Cole creates an enticing guide to creating a garden. ‘This is the garden that Jack planted…’ The final illustration presents a satisfied-looking boy surrounded by a lush, bird-filled flower garden….A concluding page of gardening suggestions serves as a springboard to books with more specific guidelines.”–Horn Book.
Jo MacDonald Had a Garden – Old MacDonald had a … garden? Yes! Sing along with young Jo MacDonald as she grows healthy food for people and wild creatures. E-I-E-I-O! Find out how butterflies, bumblebees, and birds help a garden to thrive – and how you can help them too. And keep an eye on one mysterious plant. What will it become? Youngsters learn about garden ecosystems and stewardship through this playful adaptation of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
My Garden – The girl in this book grows chocolate rabbits, tomatoes as big as beach balls, flowers that change color, and seashells in her garden. How does your garden grow?
Nora’s Chicks – Nora and her family have just arrived from Russia and are making a new home on the American frontier. The prairie is very different from the forested hills Nora is used to. Most of all, it’s lonely. Papa has the cows he sings to as he milks them. Baby brother Milo has a dog to follow him wherever he goes. But Nora has no one and nothing to call her own until Papa brings home a dozen chicks and two geese. Nora names each one, and they follow her everywhere — even to church! But what will happen when one of her beloved chicks goes missing?
Pelle’s New Suit – Pelle has a lamb whose coat grows longer and longer, while Pelle’s Sunday suit grows shorter! Pelle shears the lamb, and the wool is carded, spun, dyed and woven. Finally, the tailor makes a new suit for Pelle.
Spring – One of a series of four books without text, which lead the young child through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky board book shows the joys of playing with lambs, sowing seeds, painting Easter eggs and watching baby birds.
Spring Story – Wilfred woke early one morning. It was his birthday! He got lots of lovely presents, but the best one was a surprise. He knew he was going on a picnic, but what he didn’t know was that Mr. Apple had organized a secret celebration, and that all the mice of Brambly Hedge were invited. Wilfred was put in charge of carrying the picnic hamper. It was enormous. He grew tired as he lurched and bumped his way along the grassy track. What was it Mrs. Apple had said was in the hamper? Knives? Sandwiches? They certainly were very heavy! Once at the picnic spot, Wilfred was finally allowed to open the hamper. And there he found the best surprise of all.
Spring’s Sprung – Mother Earth rouses her daughters — March, April, and May. “You must wake the world to start a new day.” But sisters March, April, and May begin quarreling as soon as they awake from their long winter’s sleep. They are so busy competing with each other that they have forgotten that it’s their job to make the world blossom into springtime. Can Mother Earth soothe her daughters and stop their silly squabbling? Will spring ever arrive? Lynn Plourde’s bouncy text and Greg Couch’s luminous illustrations continue the story of Mother Earth and her children. Families everywhere will herald the arrival of spring!
Story of the Root Children – All through the winter the Root Children are asleep underground, but when spring comes Mother Nature wakes them up. Then the Root Children are busy cleaning and painting the beetles and bugs. When summer comes they play in the fields, ponds and meadows.
Where Do They Go When It Rains? – Stef takes the twins out for a walk to the pond. On their way they pass through fields full of flowers, grasshoppers and bees. They stop at a farm, where they feed the hens, pigs and ponies. But when they reach the pond, the clouds turn grey and it starts to rain. The twins love splashing about in the rain. But where do all the animals go when it rains? A wonderfully detailed picture book, with a variety of animals to spot, which will be enjoyed time and time again.

Our Spring Waldorf Nature Table | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The first day of spring is here! In celebration, we set up our spring nature table (shelf really). Like I did with our winter table, I thought I share where I had found some of the items on our shelf. The one aspect of our nature table that I change at least once a month […]

Continue Reading

If you can’t tell that I’m Irish by my appearance, my maiden name, Maureen Katherine McGill, would most likely clue you in. I’m proud to be Irish and enjoy the overall concept of St. Patrick’s Day, but let’s just say that being Irish does not mean I like “traditional” Irish food. Quite frankly, I find […]

Continue Reading