Nature Picture Books

I don’t know about you, but I wish I had more time to enjoy the beauty of nature. Last weekend while I was ice fishing, being in the great outdoors (or pop-up fish shack) really made me think about how we take nature for granted. While I was sitting and waiting for a perch or sunfish to grab my line, I enjoyed looking off into the distance and seeing the ravens fly about and announce their presence. I listened to the trees sway as the wind whispered through them and across the ice. I even admired the beautiful sunfish that I ended up catching. Their elegant purple hues mixed with browns and grays. My favorite part was freeing them into the open water below, as they splashed with independence. Nature is an amazing thing, and I know that from now on I will strive to appreciate it every chance I get.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Erin Stead. 2012.

Looking for a book to fit into your spring story-time schedule? Look no further! And Then It’s Spring will enchant you as well as your audience. Fogliano uses poetic prose to capture the serenity of gardening, the burden of late winter, and the promise that must be invested in order to see seeds come to life. Amazing illustrations by Caldecott winner Stead are a wonderful addition to this beautiful story. Don’t think that this story is all seriousness though; it’s not! Expect to see stomping bears and lumpy gardens, for a touch of playfulness with an underlying message.

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward. 2012.

One morning, Blue wakes up and spies a strange looking Egg in her nest. Not knowing what to do with it, Blue decides to journey throughout New York City to look for Egg’s mother. Unfortunately, Egg’s family cannot be found, but Blue never gives up. As a huge fan of NYC, I really enjoyed the setting of When Blue Met Egg. To make it even better, the end papers include small ‘telescope views’ of the different places that Blue and Egg visit. I also really loved Blue’s matter-of-fact attitude. For example: “Blue knew they wouldn’t make it in time if she tried to carry Egg, so she decided they would do what anyone would: take the subway uptown.” Her optimism was infectious and a great role model for kids. There are so many more things I could say about this lovely gem of a story, but I will let you read it to find out!

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Mark Herald. 2012.

This exquisite volume of poetry captures all of the sights and sounds of a child’s interaction with nature. Eating crisp apples, or watching birds overhead (among other things) will encourage children to explore the world around them. Outside Your Window is a striking reminder of the natural world outside our windows, just waiting to be observed. A wonderful title to add to any science collection, or just to enjoy on your own.

Kristin J.