Tag Archives: seasons

Focus on the Illustrator: Il Sung Na

I mentioned Il Sung Na back in my post about spring, but I’ve recently had a chance to look at more of Na’s work and I am still impressed. The paint like layers lend texture to the illustrations and each part seems to play delicately with the others. Na has created worlds of every day animals rendered anew, whether they are sleeping as they are in A Book of Sleep or an elephant that can’t figure out an umbrella like in The Thingamabob.

Though Na does not have many works to look through yet (book number 5, Hide and Seek, comes out in July), they are all beautiful and are as lovely to read as they are to look at. Again, I highly recommend Spring Rabbit, Snow Rabbit, which really works for any season.

The delicate illustrations will draw children in. Watch how the rabbit changes or how the fish keeps its eyes open in sleep. These books are really wonders to behold.

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Spring has Sprung

Today is the first day of Spring. Merriam-Webster defines spring as “a time or season of growth or development; specifically : the season between winter and summer comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of March, April, and May or as reckoned astronomically extending from the March equinox to the June solstice.” What better way to celebrate the season of growth than through children’s literature? I think that the changing colors and scenery make spring ideal for picture books, though the theme also works well in easy readers and chapter books as well. Some of my favorite (and new favorite) books about Spring (and the changing of seasons) are:

  • Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na. I only read this one recently, but the illustrations are stunning. Watch Rabbit move through the seasons as they change and Rabbit changes too.
  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Though this focuses on a seed as the seasons change, the real growth happens in Spring, when things like flowers come alive. Eric Carle’s distinct style is always a crowd pleaser and the lesson within about change and growth make this one a perennial favorite.
  • When Will It Be Spring? by Catherine Walters. How do you get a baby bear to hibernate when he is just so excited for Spring? That’s what this story is about and children will learn about how the world changes when it becomes Spring. It also works well as part of a lesson plan on Earth Science, as this blog post explains.
  • Ready for Spring by Marthe Jocelyn. Don’t know what to wear for Spring? This fun board book explains what’s weather appropriate.
  • A Child’s Book of Seasons by Satomi Ichikawa. I believe this book is now out of print, but if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it. This was one of my most interesting picture books I had growing up and though Autumn was always my favorite part of this book, the illustrations make all seasons beautiful.

Aside from my favorite, Apples 4 the Teacher has a nice list of books about spring. This website has a fairly through list, which separates the books into age groupings, helpful for quick selection. Find something about spring and celebrate it. Baseball is starting up again, flowers are growing, trees are turning green. All of this lends itself to great read alouds and adventures that can be paired with books.

Focus on the Illustrator: Nikki McClure

I am fortunate enough to live in the same region as author and illustrator Nikki McClure. At Crafty Wonderland last winter, I almost met her, but instead was shy and admired her work from a distance. What I really like about McClure’s work is her very unique illustration style, which is created through paper cuts. Though simple in color schemes, this type of work takes a long time and a delicate hand.

One of my favorite books by McClure is Mama, Is It Summer Yet?. Using the world of nature around her, McClure shows the transitioning of spring to summer in a unique way that will delight children.Younger readers and new parents seem to love Awake to Nap, which is all about a baby’s day.

Even though paper cutting is difficult to replicate, attempting to do so will show children just how much work goes into creating her stories. If you haven’t seen any of her work, I highly recommend her.