Spring Ahead: Picture Books When You’re Waiting for Spring

If you’re living in Chicago, then you woke this morning to a layer of snow covering your now frozen tulip beds. It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer, right?!

But just because our feet are freezing and our gardens are dying (eek!) doesn’t mean our libraries can’t be green and blooming! Here are a few of our favorite new children’s books that make us feel like spring might be right around the corner… maybe. We hope.


Relating so hard to this book right now…

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

I can be a little bitter when I talk about Kevin Henkes’ new books (but only because I love his old books so very, very much!) but this picture book won me over. Henkes’ latest book is a gorgeous ode to spring. He highlights the way that spring can seem like it might never come. You wait and you wait and you wait until FINALLY you see the first tiniest green shoot in the dirt. And suddenly, it’s spring! Illustrator Laura Dronzek’s thickly painted kittens, pussy willows, and daffodils jump off the page. This book is a total breath of new, spring air!


Spring by David Carter

I’ve loved David Carter since Alphabugs (that’s my “I knew him when” speech), and Carter’s nailing it with these seasonal pop up board books. Cherry Blossoms leap off the page. Bees swarm a bunch of flowers. A robin feeds his baby birds. I love simple thematic picture books, and this is a great example. It’s the perfect dose of warm weather to pick you up on this frigid morning!


Bloom by Doreen Cronin and David Small

I loved this picture book! It’s a fairy tale with a spunky female heroine and a message about the importance of getting dirty. Emily catnip, pretty much. David Small’s illustrations are just as beautiful as always, and they really capture the magic of dirt and the wonder we can find by trying out our green thumbs. Plus, there are fairies! Well, one sort of ornery fairy, but still! BONUS: Check out David Small’s gorgeous The Gardener for another burst of color in a dreary city!


Make it Grow by Debbie Powell

We at RoscoeBooks are HUGE proponents of life the flap books. Not only are they sort of magical, but they keep kids entertained forever! This book works on a sensory level. The blacks, whites, and browns of winter literally burst into the vibrant hues of spring. Definitely worth a look when it’s snowing outside!


Greenling by Levi Pinfold

Okay, this one looks a bit whacky but stay with me. Every once in a while, I’ll read a picture book that reminds me of the picture books from years before: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Where the Wild Things Are, The Three Robbers. Beautiful, elaborate stories with a sense of mystery and inventiveness that can seem so unreal, so out there that it’s a bit…strange. But what’s wrong with that? Greenling is the story of an old couple who lives in a depressing, urban cityscape until the husband brings home…something. What follows is a journey through the growth of the greenling as he inspires—and provokes—the residents of the community. At its heart, this is a love letter to nature, greenery, and the birth of new things. Plus, the rhyming works beautifully! Take it from me, this one deserves a second look.


Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Susan Gal

This is exactly what you want in a Spring picture book. The illustrations are laced with gold and brilliant pinks. Flowers are blooming and animals are hatching. Plus, it captures the sense of magic that arrives in the spring…how something so small as a seed can become something as wild as a forest. You and your young reader will have fun reading the magical words this duo has created!

Those are our picks to warm you up on this chilly, snowy, icy Chicago day. But never fear… spring is on its way!

About Emily

Emily is a veteran in the customer service field, waiting tables, making coffee, renting videos (remember those?), and selling books since she was 15 years old. She enjoys glitter pens, drinking wine, critiquing horror movies, and planning vacations that may or may not come to fruition. Perhaps the most accurate thing ever said about Emily is that she is "crafty to a fault." She has a master's, but probably isn't using it the right way. When it comes to reading, Emily is always searching for narrative children's books, multidimensional board books, middle grade novels that make her cry and adult novels centered on concepts of home.
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