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Nose in a Book: 5 Kids' Books About Spring, Green and Gardening

Published on: May 07, 2013

Tops & Bottoms Tops & Bottoms, by Janet Stevens

Tops & Bottoms is a wonderful folk story about hard work. A poor hare needs to provide for his large family and rich Bear is happy to have him take care of his fields. “You get tops and I get bottoms,” promises clever Hare who sorts the harvest into root vegetables for him and the useless tops for Bear.

A clever take on the trickster theme, the kids at a recent Mockingbird Books story time found Bear’s shoes and sleeping posture worthy of discussion. The book is laid out top to bottom, making it great for sharing with a group.

Age recommendation: 3 and up

Next: Wiggle-Waggle

Wiggle WaggleWiggle and Waggle, by Caroline Arnold and illustrated by Mary Peterson

Wiggle and Waggle is a simple, charming book about friendship and spending a happy day. It’s a great choice for emerging readers and even includes a gardening song and a science fact sheet at the end of the book.

Age recommendation: All ages

Next: Maisy Grows a Garden

Maisy Grows a GardenMaisy Grows a Garden, by Lucy Cousins

The latest pop-up book from Lucy Cousins’ impressive series is Maisy Grows a Garden. I am a huge fan of Maisy books. Cousins’ books always illustrate a simple idea, like “Things that Go,” while managing to make paper move and change, much beyond a typical picture book.

Age recommendation: 2 and up

Next: Creepy Carrots

Creepy CarrotsCreepy Carrots!, by Aaron Reynold and illustrated by Peter Brow

Creepy Carrots! is an allegory about greed that is a fun read-a-loud book for preschoolers on up. Jasper Rabbit can’t lay off the carrots, even eats them on the way to Little League. Then one day the carrots begin to follow him … or do they? Brown won a Caldecott Honor for his graphic and often funny images.

Age recommendation: 3 and up

Next: The Language of Flowers

The Language of FlowerThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

And here's one for the grown-ups: The story of an amazing foster child named Victoria, The Language of Flowers connects through the flowers and their meanings. As Victoria grows up she struggles to find her way, financially and socially until a local florist takes her in.

It’s a touching story about taking risks and finding ways to express emotions. The author also founded the Camellia Network, a national nonprofit which supports youth transitioning from foster care.

Age recommendation: For adults

About the author: Wendy Ostenson is a bookseller at Mockingbird Books, an independent bookstore near Green Lake in Seattle. The store offers monthly Book Groups and daily 11 a.m. story times (except Sundays.)

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