I don’t know about you, but the second the calendar turns to March I am ready for spring. Just seeing bulbs poke their pointed, green crowns up through the ground makes me wildly happy. Spring is the signal that we’ve made it through another winter and life can finally begin anew. When I was a child my family always took a vacation for Easter, so I have many fond memories of dyeing Easter eggs with dozens of cousins, taking hikes through the red cliffs of Southern Utah, and devouring dutch oven meals in my version of a perfect spring break. Whether you’re planning matching Easter outfits, or just itching to get your garden going, these spring-themed books will fill you with a refreshed sense of wonder and hope.
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
First you have brown and a few seeds. Once the seeds are planted a child wishes for rain and once the rain starts somehow it seems like it will never end. But still you plant, with a rabbit, dog, and turtle as companions and together you wait. But you worry about those seeds, each one trying, each one waiting. As weeks pass the brown remains unchanged until one day it isn’t brown anymore—it’s green. With sparse text on most pages, each landscape sings in this springtime classic.
The bunnies are soaking up sunshine in the field when Mr. Goat rolls by on his tractor and they are suddenly covered in mud. Bear offers some help by putting the bunnies into the washing machine. Hung out to dry on the clothesline, the bunnies are ready for a new adventure once morning arrives. Although technically not an spring book, the three stories told throughout this book are just too charming to leave off this list.
This is a cute one for preschoolers. Croc is pretty grumpy from the get-go, simply because he wants the eggs that all his friends have. This is an easy way to talk to little ones about feelings and asking politely for what they want. And the end-of-the book egg bouquet pop-out is a stunning celebration of a well-earned reward.
Perhaps it’s cheating to include this book on two lists I recently compiled, but this newly released gem should be seen by as many people as possible. A young boy traipses through the woods with his dog on a wintry night. He trudges through snow, feet leaving footprints as he moves past the frozen brook and eventually inside his home for warmth and welcome. In the morning, as a rainbow dawn sweeps across the land, snow begins to turn to slush and signs of life emerge triumphant. Without a doubt, each spread of this magnificent picture book is worth framing as art.
When it comes to character books, we’re devoted fans of Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. In this board book Mouse hides and finds various brightly colored eggs with his pals. With little focus on Easter, this is an early concept book that is best for very young children.
The simplest board books are sometimes the sweetest as is the case with this dePaola classic. Simple sentences paired with the familiar sights of Easter (lilies, egg dyeing, new Sunday clothes) make this a perfect addition to any baby’s first Easter.
A storm brews and insects take cover. As rain patters and scatters, photographs of speckled leaves and sitting birds fill the pages as the drips turn earth to mud and make petals droop. Once the rain stops the drops slip and settle; they drip down fern leaves and cling to spider webs. Science lovers will appreciate the intricate detail of each image in addition to the two pages of backmatter about the water cycle and how raindrops vary in size and act as a magnifying lens. Sayre’s entire weather series is worth checking out.
Seeds by Carme Lemniscates
Though tiny, seeds are mighty—each one transforming into something wonderful with a little water, sunshine, and patience. While not exclusive to spring, Seeds is a handy reference tool for anyone who might want to plant a garden or flower pot with their child. It also touches on the seeds of kindness and hurt we can wield with our deeds. We also recommend Birds by the same talented author/illustrator.
A lonely little bunny is in search of Easter. He trudges through the seasons and at last finds a companion. Together, along with their abundant offspring, the now large family heralds the arrival of the previously elusive holiday. A sweet story about how family (or loved ones nearby) makes life that much sweeter.
A look at Holy Week from a biblical perspective, told with age-appropriate text. This sturdy board book is ideal for anyone wishing to incorporate a religious book into their Easter basket goodies. Similarly, the other two books in the series (Christmas and Noah’s Ark) are also excellent for young readers.
Rabbit LOVES carrots, but his collection (ahem, hoard) has gotten out of hand. With a carrot-cluttered home, Rabbit isn’t able to sleep, so he heads out to find a new place to live. However, living with Turtle is a little cramped and Bird’s nest simply isn’t strong enough. Not until Rabbit puts a number of friends’ homes out of commission does he realize that carrots aren’t for collecting—they are best enjoyed when shared. I can never read this without hankering for a slice of homemade carrot cake.
This lift-the-flap book is based on the old American folk tune and is beloved by the toddler crowd. Count the eggs as you go and watch out for that sneaky wolf at the end. This is also a fun book to read before a child's first egg hunt.
Two children dash into the rainy morning, scouting puddles and stomping on tree stumps. Meanwhile worms wiggle under the surface. Once drenched, the group stops for a pizza lunch after which the sun finally emerges. A quick, rhyming read that will undoubtedly encourage some outside play.
Miranda Rosbach is a librarian turned children’s book reviewer and freelance writer. In her spare time she likes scouting new restaurants and colorful murals. She also loves reading middle grade novels and memoirs. She lives in St.Louis with her husband and two daughters. You can find her book reviews on her blog or on Instagram as @bookbloom.