I was volunteering at the library today, and I stumbled on What Bluebirds Do by Pamela F. Kirby. It’s a gorgeous picture book full of photographs of a family of bluebirds that took up residence in the author’s backyard. Readers see the baby birds grow and learn all sorts of interesting facts that will be appreciated by both parents and kids, including how to tell the difference between a bluebird and a blue bird and what the parent birds do with all of that baby-bird poop. It’s a lovely appreciation of nature and introduction to birdwatching.
I was so pleased with the discovery that it made me think of other great nature-and-spring books. One that came to mind is an old classic, The Lady and the Spider. Okay, the lettuce in her garden is full-grown, so it’s probably more like summer in the story. If you can get past the ladies 70s-era accessorizing, what you’ll find is a book about respecting nature and other creatures. It’s also a great illustration of different points of view. Of course, if you’re the type who sees a spider, screams, and tries to squash it, I wouldn’t read this book to your child. On the other hand, if it upsets you when preschoolers wantonly stamp all over, say, an ant hill, this book is a gentle reminder to treat other creatures with care.
Finally, I’m a huge fan of Sharon Lovejoy‘s gardening with children books. She draws her own lovely illustrations and in her Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars: Grandma’s Bag of Tricks book, she includes photographs from her own garden. These are longer books packed with information and suggestions for grown-ups, so they make an excellent mother’s day gift for a mama or grandma that you know. I actually did a phone interview with Sharon Lovejoy for an article that I wrote, and she projects that peaceful joy that you might recognize from, say, the best nursery school teacher you know, or your friend’s awesomely sweet grandmother.
So, those are my suggestions. How about you? Do you have any recommendations for great books to inspire your kids to love and appreciate nature? Any favorite spring reads?