Count Down to Spring

from Wildlife Promise

If your family is like mine, you’re counting down the days till spring begins officially on March 21. But this month delights in unpredictable weather. Lion or lamb? How did your March arrive?

Well, the lion roared in my neck of the (urban) woods, with a full-out snowstorm on March 1. Out came the snow boots, sled and mismatched gloves so my daughter and her friend could revel in a school-less Monday.

But even as we tromped to the sledding hill, we noticed the first forsythia. Yellow blooms! Harbingers of sunny days!

What signs of spring are you and your kids spotting? Crocus shoots amongst the snow? A greeny smell to the nippy air?

You can have fun counting down with The Twelve Days of Springtime (Abrams, 2009, ages 3 to 7). Deborah Lee Rose gives a green spin to the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” folksong. The gifts that the teacher gives to a little girl, her toy monkey and seven lively school chums include “three seedlings, two turtle ponds and a garden to water carefully.”

But it’s in the accompanying art that youngsters can get down and dirty with the characters–down close to the ground and dirty with spades and seeds, that is. Carey Armstrong-Ellis fills her gouache paintings with humorous details: lively frogs, busy butterflies, busier kids and a patient but rather frazzled teacher trying to oversee the stone-skipping, mud-squishing exuberance of it all.

As the weather warms and the snows melt, you and your kids might create a little puddle-jumping, spring-feverish exuberance of your own. Hope you have a splashin’ good time.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 15 award-winning children’s books, including Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns (Random House) and two chapter-book sequels, all set in a city community garden. Check www.maryquattlebaum.com for activities connected with Mary’s books.