At our house, spring starts on March 1st, and it does so because by that time we’ve had enough of Lady Winter so whether Winter is ready to go to sleep or not, her decorations get put away. Amazingly, on March 1st both this year and last it is as if the robins know to start singing and the sun shines for the first time in weeks. I actually prefer it when Lent starts right before spring because then we gradually transition from the excesses of our winter Land of Sweets to the austerity of Lent with ease, but when Lent starts “after” our spring, then I kind of end up in a strange decorating twilight–how much cheerful spring decorating should I do when Lent starts next week and I want things to be solemn and reverent? I’ve ended up taking ALL the snow off our felt seasonal tree (wishful thinking got the better of me), putting away all of our Valentine hearts, and I’m about to pack away the Land of Sweets. I can’t decide if I should put up the Peter Rabbit playmat I made yet or that should wait for Easter. If don’t put it up then *something* will have to go on our book table, otherwise we’ll feel all wiggly and weird inside because we always have *something* there, and that feeling will never do. I also did my annual wipe down of our fan blades today and was, expectedly, amazed at how much dust can collect in one place.
So, in honor of the spring that has sprung at our abode, my favorite books of the season:
Spring in Brambly Hedge (http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Story-Brambly-Hedge-Barklem/dp/0689830580/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299014767&sr=1-8) This is such a fantastic series written and illustrated by a British author about little mice who live in a brambly hedge. There are many in the series and they are no longer in print so you need to find them used. There is even this pattern book which I’d love to get someday: http://www.amazon.com/Brambly-Hedge-Pattern-Book-Dolman/dp/0399211942/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299014767&sr=1-6
How Robin Saved Spring (http://www.amazon.com/Robin-Saved-Spring-Debbie-Ouellet/dp/0805069704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299014926&sr=1-1). We read this on March 1st every year and it is a story about how the wily Lady Winter tries to keep Sister Spring asleep but is finally thwarted by Robin who gets a red-breast in the process. This is a really well-done book, and includes such interesting tidbits as how the ladybug got her spots, the skunk its stripe, and why bears hibernate in winter and why caterpillars get wings in spring.
The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck (http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Tales-Beatrix-Potter-Puddle-Duck/dp/0517050773/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299015336&sr=1-4). This is one of my favorite Beatrix Potter stories. I actually think B.P.’s charm is mostly in her pictures, as I think her tales a bit odd at times. Jemima, though, is such a trusting and sweet duck that you can’t help but love her even if she IS a bad sitter.
The Rainbabies (http://www.amazon.com/Rainbabies-Laura-Krauss-Melmed/dp/0688151132/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299015476&sr=1-1). I can never quite pinpoint exactly what deeper moral there is moving underneath the thread of this story, but it is an engaging read about an elderly couple who because of their devotion get rewarded with a baby of their own.
The Story of the Root Children (http://www.amazon.com/Story-Root-Children-Sibylle-Von-Olfers/dp/086315106X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299015642&sr=1-1). This is the quintessential, required-Waldorf-reading for spring. I love decorating with a Root Children theme. Last year I made a darling little “root child” out of a wooden peg and green felt, and Cecily, in one of her sour moods, colored with markers all over it, so I think one of my projects soon will be to make one afresh.
Mother Earth and Her Children (http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Earth-Her-Children-Quilted/dp/1933308184/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299015642&sr=1-3). This is essentially a truncated version of the Root Children but the story behind the book is moving. A mother, while grieving the death of her son, quilted a beautiful scene depicting the scenes from the Root Children, which was her favorite book as a child. Her embroidery is amazing, and it is such a touching story of how this project helped the mother work through her grief, that I always try and recommend this version even if it isn’t as textually-complex.
The Story of the Butterfly Children (http://www.amazon.com/Story-Butterfly-Children-Sibylle-Olfers/dp/0863156886/ref=pd_sim_b_7). Again, this is quintessential Waldorf but it is a lovely and simple tale about the caterpillars getting their wings.
Pelle’s New Suit (http://www.amazon.com/Pelles-New-Suit-Elsa-Beskow/dp/0863155847/ref=pd_sim_b_16). The third and last quintessential Waldorf spring read. It is about a boy who goes through all of the steps of making a new spring suit. One that I actually like better than this is A New Coat for Anna (http://www.amazon.com/New-Coat-Anna-Dragonfly-Books/dp/0394898613/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016071&sr=1-1). It is a nearly identical story to Pelle but it takes places from one Christmas to the next. I prefer it because 1) it features a girl and I have a daughter so she related more to the character that way, 2) it is a true story about a little girl who needed a new coat following WWII but her mother had no money to buy her one and so for a year she combines sacrifice and ingenuity to make her daughter a coat. As a mother, I deeply understand that tenacity.
Spring’s Sprung (http://www.amazon.com/Springs-Sprung-Lynn-Plourde/dp/0689842295/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016321&sr=1-1). To be honest, I have not yet read this book but I love the 2 other Lynn Plourde seasonal books that we’ve read this year so I feel confident in recommending this one, site unseen. Ours in on order from the library at the moment.
The Curious Garden (http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Garden-Peter-Brown/dp/0316015474/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016424&sr=1-1). With Creation-care getting so much attention (and rightly so!) these days, this story is very fitting. It is a story about a little boy longing for a greener world.
Miss Rumphius (http://www.amazon.com/Miss-Rumphius-Barbara-Cooney/dp/0140505393/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016504&sr=1-1). In the same vein as The Curious Garden, this story is about making the world more beautiful while making one’s life more fulfilling at the same time.
Roxaboxen (http://www.amazon.com/Roxaboxen-Alice-Mclerran/dp/0060526335/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016504&sr=1-3) I don’t think this is exactly “springish” but I just found it and am ordering it from the library. It looks quite good.
Bag in the Wind (http://www.amazon.com/Bag-Wind-Ted-Kooser/dp/0763630012/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016736&sr=1-1). This is a great story for 3 reasons: 1) it depicts Creation-care motifs and the importance of trash-collecting and recycling, 2) it is the one children’s book I’ve ever seen that has homeless characters and portrays them with dignity, and 3) it promotes the idea of working for the things you want and grace when someone gives you something unexpectedly.
Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs (http://www.amazon.com/Minerva-Louise-Colorful-Morgan-Stoeke/dp/0142410594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299016972&sr=1-1). I adore the Minerva Louise stories. Their text is simple enough for a 2-year-old yet they all have a humor that an adult will appreciate. So very good.
In My Dreams I Can Fly (http://www.amazon.com/My-Dreams-Can-Fly/dp/073582259X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299017079&sr=1-1). This is a story about patience, when little ones must bide their time before they can grow their own wings and fly away. It is a good read for scratching the soul and helps me to remember that I have to let my little one fly, no matter how much I want her to stay little and grubby.
Forever Friends (http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Friends-Carin-Berger/dp/0061915289/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299019102&sr=8-1). Typical focus on animal life through all the seasons but well done.
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Lovely-Present-Charlotte-Zolotow/dp/0064430200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019274&sr=1-1). I love Charlotte Zolotow’s book The Seashore, and this is a lovely story too.
Our Nest (http://www.amazon.com/Booklist-Editors-Choice-Books-Awards/dp/B000V4R20G/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019358&sr=1-1). This is sort of “nesting” type story where you see how all these creatures have homes and the Earth is home to all.
Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep (http://www.amazon.com/Farmer-Brown-Shears-Sheep-publication/dp/0439288355/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299019450&sr=1-1). Whilst I would not recommend paying $700 for this book, it is a funny tale about cold sheep.
The Rose in My Garden (http://www.amazon.com/Rose-My-Garden-Arnold-Lobel/dp/0688122655/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019527&sr=1-1) “A horticultural House that Jack Built — with the infectiousness of a nursery rhyme.” — — Kirkus (pointer) is as great a description as I can give. I love the Lobels.
Where the River Begins (http://www.amazon.com/Where-River-Begins-Picture-Puffins/dp/0140545956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019612&sr=1-1) This is a good book for the end of spring when you go wading in rivers.
My Day in the Garden (http://www.amazon.com/My-Day-Garden-Miela-Ford/dp/0688155413/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019718&sr=1-1) A good story about imaginative play.
Caterpillar Caterpillar (http://www.amazon.com/Caterpillar-Read-Wonder/dp/0763642630/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299019771&sr=1-1) Great story with lots of good butterfly information. It’s hard to find an imaginative story that is also this informative.
So, with these good reads and wishful thoughts, I’m hoping that the snow is gone for the season, that our bulbs will bloom against all odds, and that the sun will continue to shine. Next, week, Mardi and Ash Wednesday … my favorite time begins. And, I’m writing a book at the moment …