In an attempt to turn this recent run of weather-and-illness-induced cabin fever into a positive thing, I’ve drawn together a little review of our favourite winter into spring reads. With the exception of Hooray for Hoppy, these straddle both winter and spring, so we’ve been reading them for quite a few months already, but they still feel relevant now we’re (apparently) heading into spring. Grab a blanket and snuggle up with these lovely titles…
Hooray for Hoppy by Tim Hopgood.
This has been a favourite since Prim was very small – we’re big Hopgood fans here! Hoppy is a rabbit just about to come out of hibernation. When ‘the big day’ finally arrives, we go with him on a sensory journey – we feel the sun, smell the flowers, taste the grass, see the lambs and hear the birds – through the countryside until he meets up with his fellow rabbit chums to celebrate the arrival of spring. The illustrations are trademark Hopgood – lively, vibrant and unpretentious. A great book for first-learning about the seasons and the senses and, for slightly older children, starting conversations about hibernation.
Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara.
The tale of a boy who hates winter, until he’s visited by the mischievous Jack Frost, who shows him just how much fun it can be! It’s only with the first sign of spring – the shoot of a flower, poking through the snow, that Jack departs.
As with all of Kohara’s books (The Midnight Library is another firm favourite here) the simple, linocut illustrations are mesmeric in their simplicity – Jack’s spiky form and the wintery white on blue lend a magical air that couples perfectly with her writing.
I found this particularly useful in helping Prim understand where the snow had gone recently – she got quite upset when it disappeared!
Your Hand in My Hand by Mark Sperring and Britta Teckentrup.
My husband recently messaged during bedtime, whilst waiting to put a sleeping Prim in her cot, to say, ‘Your Hand in My Hand… heart warming stuff!’ and he’s not wrong. I probably wouldn’t advise reading it with your little one if you’re feeling remotely hormonal or sentimental as you might just find it raises a little tear.
Much like the modern children’s classic Guess How Much I Love You, this is a simple read, yet one to cherish. Sperring’s rhyming text makes it the perfect read for bedtime and, as there is no mention of the sex of the two mice, they could be any combination of mother/father/son/daughter. Fan’s of Teckentrup’s other books, such as the beautiful Bee: Nature’s Tiny Miracle, will recognise her evocative illustations and glorious use of colour.
I would suggest this is the perfect gift for a new parent but maybe include a box of tissues or two if you decide to do this! (**There’s something in my eye, honest!**)
Robin’s Winter Song by Suzanne Barton
With all the other animals preparing for the arrival of Winter – migrating, gathering food and searching for a warm place to hibernate – Robin gets the impression that he’s not going to like it very much. When it arrives, he realises how magical it is. As the new flowers shoot through the melting snow, heralding the arrival of Spring, Robin is excited to see what the new season brings. It’s this childlike sense of joy that brings magic to Barton’s pages – imagine never having seen snow before, or flowers poking through the earth. It’s easy to forget that this is how life is for our young children and I love the reminder that this book gives.
The Very Long Sleep by Polly Noakes
Fox goes to sleep with Bear, Chipmunk and Marmot but, when he wakes up, they stay asleep. For AGES. Fed up Fox then takes delivery of lots of parcels for his friends, though isn’t sure what they are. It’s only when spring finally arrives that he finds out…
This is another great book for starting conversations about hibernation and we enjoyed the humorous element. The illustrations are lovely, too, with the inside of the animals’ house feeling really warm and cosy against the backdrop of snowy darkness outside.
What are your favourite winter and springtime reads?
Jo, The Mother Side xx
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