I love the shifting of seasons. Sometimes it happens slowly and the leaves deepen in hue and drop off one by one… other times it’s an abrupt wake-up call and a brave little iris is poking its head out of the cold ground. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we were enjoying a normal, wet, mild, windy fall when all of a sudden the bitter cold came yesterday and left a quarter inch of snow dusting the ground. Winter already? I marvel in the rhythms of nature… and so many picture books do too. I have Top Ten lists for all the seasons already, limited though they are. But we all know there exist a myriad of books that really hinge on a very specific part of the season, specifically its inception. Best are the books emphasizing the beginning of spring and the beginning of winter. Summer and Fall (well, there is the blooming “harvest time” genre…) are not as common for some reason, at least it seems to me…
Anyway, I read a book that’s new this year that made me think of all my favorite “transitioning to winter” titles. The book is this one:
|Winter is Coming|
… and it is stunning. It might well be my favorite book of the year. I just love the tone; it’s poetic without being contrived and Jim La Marche could not have been a better illustrator for this book. The whole story is simply a young girl watching wildlife and how they respond to the shifting of seasons. In many ways, I was struck by how it felt like the female version of The Raft. In that book, Winter Is Coming is going on my gifting ideas list because it is just beautiful.
The story is developed in a traditional way but the similarities between a child sketching wildlife in opposite seasons was wonderful; they’d make a great side-by-side comparison for the enterprising teacher.
A couple of the other books that I cherish this time of year are sadly out of print. All can be found in my local library however, so I suspect they’re available in others. One is called Waiting for Winter and it is glorious and messy and funny and endearing. I can’t fathom why it went out of print so soon! Meschenmoser illustrated it in sparse colors with a scribblish technique that captures the bitter end of fall so well. The little squirrel is waiting for snow and trying to figure out what exactly it’ll be like…
Snowsong Whistling is another one of my favorites because Elisa Kleven is like the bacon of the picture book world… add her illustrations to anything and it’ll turn out amazing. In this book, the world again waits for the first snow and spritely verses dance across the pages as winter knocks at the door.
Still in the OUT OF PRINT world, there are other goodies also… like Hurry Hurry Mary Dear a very fun book about Mary running about tucking things in, getting ready for the big, blustery winter on its way. The book is really an depiction of what illustrator Erik Blevgard calls a “domestic drama” but it sure is fun to be watching it all unfold!
So there you are… the best of the “transition” books in my opinion…
Winter Is Coming looks gorgeous – I can't wait to track it down! Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂
Waiting for Winter is out of print?! We have a copy and it is very loved in this house. I will have to guard it carefully from baby hands!
Winter is Coming looks gorgeous.
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