Two of my favorite books to read in the spring are Possum and the Peeper, by Anne Hunter, and and then it’s spring, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.
In Possum and the Peeper, possum is roused from his long winter sleep by a loud and constant noise. “Peep! Peep! Peep!” He decides to leave his cozy winter nest and find the source of the inconsiderate racket. As he searches she is joined by a pair of catbirds, a bear, a muskrat, and a turtle, who all agree that the noise needs to stop. The animals’ search takes them through the woods, by the “trout lilies blooming along the path,” and then down to the marsh. Among the reeds of the marsh they find “a speck of a thing” that is the source of the “peeping.” In his loud voice, the unapologetic little frog delivers a spring message, “Rise and shine!” Read the book to hear the frog’s other spring messages.
And then it’s spring, is that wonderful combination of beautiful artwork and wonderful words. This team created a lovely book.
Think spring. What color comes to mind? Green, right? Spring is the arrival of green… or, if you flip it, it is the disappearance of brown. And then it’s spring, starts with brown: “First you have brown, all around you have brown.” The author then adds seeds and anticipation, and takes us into spring. The simple, measured text articulates the hopeful, watchful anticipation of spring.
The illustrated characters—a boy, a dog, a turtle, and a rabbit—stand in a brown field, plant seeds in a garden, hope for rain, march in mud, and wait. While the characters wait, the reader waits. The images
of the little boy and his friends are sweet, playful, and timeless. Erin E. Stead uses woodblock printing techniques and pencil sketching to bring this story to life. The stage is set with a big tree in a fenced field, a small red farmhouse set on a distant hill, and sky—big, cloud-filled sky. The characters of the story move within this stage to play out the celebration of spring.