Books about spring are a great reminder that sunshine and rain bring the green sprouts of hope.

“And Then It’s Spring” by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead, Roaring Book Press, 2012, ages 4 – 7.

A young boy looks across the vast expanse of a field and sees only the browns of winter, while longing for the greens of spring. With a hopeful heart, he plants seeds to grow flowers and vegetables, then watches and waits, full of anticipation. With patience, his seeds sprout and the brown earth turns to the luscious green of spring. The illustrator, Erin Stead, a past Caldecott Award winner, uses woodblock printing and pencil to create soft, sweet illustrations, which are rich in details and invite a reader to find a little something new at each reading.

“Grandpa Green” by Lane Smith, Roaring Book Press, 2011, ages 5 and up.

A grandfather and his young grandson share a special bond caring for the unusual topiary sculpted trees in their garden, where memories are retold through the whimsical and adventurous stories of the trees. Adults and children alike will marvel at the creative garden creations and smile at the imaginative explanation for each one. The garden becomes a living place for gardener and assistant to explore the changes which accompany aging and to pass on the heritage of the family. Rich shades of greens combine with pen and ink drawings to create a stunning garden experience for the reader. “Grandpa Green” received the 2012 Caldecott Award Honor Book designation for the beautiful illustrations.

“Molly’s Organic Farm” by Carol L. Malnor & Trina L. Hunner, Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner, Dawn Publications, 2012, ages 4 and up.

A garden is the setting for this story of Molly, a homeless cat, and her discovery of a new garden home. Based on a true story, the authors vividly describe the garden through Molly’s connections to the garden’s people, plants, and creatures. Bright watercolor illustrations lead the reader into the rows of cabbage and cauliflower and under the curling cucumber vines. Organic gardening terms, such as composting and companion plants are featured throughout the text, with a picture and word glossary found at the end of the text. End materials also share planting ideas, gardening books for children, and the true story of the real cat, Molly.

“Jo MacDonald Had a Garden” by Mary Quattlebaum, Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant, Dawn Publications, 2012, ages 3-6.

For the youngest of gardeners, Jo MacDonald Had a Garden is an adaptation of the children’s song Old MacDonald Had a Farm. In this playful version, two young children dig in the dirt, plant a garden, and watch it grow. The beautiful watercolor illustrations show the joy and sense of importance the children feel from being so closely connected to nature. After the story, readers will find information about the plants and animals featured in the illustrations, as well as indoor activities to promote gardening year round.

Hopefully these stories of gardening will inspire a little spring planting of your own.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler