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When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2016

“Before Spring comes, the grass is brown. But if you wait, Spring will turn it green and add little flowers.” Page by page, Henkes highlights the small changes that come as winter turns to spring, returning again and again to the phrase “if you wait … ” Rich acrylic paintings feature two young children out in the natural world, experiencing and observing all spring has to offer—the hatching birds, sprouting seeds, rain and puddles, bees, and boots. There’s also a surprise snowfall, because spring “changes its mind a lot.” And when spring finally arrives for good, waiting for summer can begin. This perfectly paced and elegantly illustrated celebration of seasonal changes is right on target for young children, with its sense of wonder at the world outside. (Ages 2–6)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem “Love Song of the Little Bear” & “The Song of the Tiny Cat” in Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About the senses. What does spring sound, smell, look, taste, or feel like?
  • Sing: A song or read a rhyme about spring.
  • Write: Look at the pictures of the book. Pick your favorite page. Draw a picture of what you like about it. Have a grown-up help you write about that picture.
  • Play: Outside: Blow bubbles. Play in the mud. Jump in puddles.
  • Math or Science: Germinate a bean seed in a paper towel. See how many days it takes to begin to grow. Talk about roots and water. Go outside to look at plants growing.

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