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Springtime books for kids

March 7, 2016
Amy Phelps , MOV Parent

Welcome spring holidays with some new picture books!

First is a little book in time for St. Patrick's Day with "Mr. Mischief and the Leprechaun" originated by Roger Hangreaves and written and illustrated by Adam Hangreaves (Price Stern Sloan, $3.99, ages 3-5.)

When 8-year-old Adam asked his father, Roger, what a tickle looked like, the Mr. Men & Little Miss series were born. Now, Adam oversees the new books out, such as this one. When Mr. Mischief gets up in the morning there is a "surprise" for him in the shower. And there's an even bigger one in his kitchen - the leprechaun who played the prank! Mr. Mischief is usually the one pulling pranks, so when the leprechaun asks if he wants to join in, why would he say no? How much havoc will they cause? And will they turn on each other?

This is a funny story that shows the consequences of mischief and is a timely St. Patrick's Day and April Fool's Day tale.

There are two new board books offering chicks and bunnies out now. First is "Big Chickie, Little Chickie" by Janee Trasler (HarperFestival, $8.99, newborn to 4.) This book of opposites follows barnyard animals trying to take the chickies pictures. In and out, whisper and shout are all explored, along with adorable illustrations that make this one an eyecatching journey. In "Five Little Bunnies" by Dan Yaccarino (HarperFestival, $6.99, newborn to 4) kids can follow 5 little bunnies (that sort of look like the marshmallow bunnies) as they hide Easter eggs and later hide in the bushes and watch the kids enjoy their work. The bunnies are really cute and it is a festive book for little ones.

Get kids ready for spring with "When Spring Comes" by award-winning author Kevin Henkes with illustrations by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow Books, $17.99, ages 4 to 8.) The book goes through and shows what things will look like before spring and after. Before spring, the trees are bare sticks. After, they are covered in leaves and blossoms. The grass is brown before spring, but after it's green with little flowers. Spring brings lots of rain and the author hopes you like mud, puddles and umbrellas. The garden is just dirt before spring, but after green shoots start to show up. And as the author points out, once spring is finally here, you're not done waiting, because now you're waiting for summer! This is a very cute, seasonally appropriate book, with gorgeous illustrations.

Part of spring is birds' eggs hatching, and that is the story in the reprint of "The Happy Egg" by Ruth Krauss with illustrations by Crockett Johnson (HarperCollins, $14.99, ages 2 to 8.) There once was a little little bird. Which was really an egg that could do nothing but sit there and wait to hatch. And so it does what eggs do - be sat upon and one day hatch to become a bird that will one day sit on other eggs. This is a very simple story that is brightly colored and eye-grabbing.

Spring also brings butterflies and there is plenty of them in "Pinkalicious and the Little Butterfly" by Victoria Kann (HarperFestival, $4.99, ages 4 to 8.) Pinkalicious' class is studying caterpillars and how they turn into butterflies. They feed them milkweed and await the day that they finally build their chrysalises to transform inside. They all wait and check daily, and soon two reemerge as butterflies and are set free. But what will happen to Pinkalicious' favorite? Will it ever hatch? There is, of course, a pink surprise at the end, and there is also a sheet of stickers included in the book, always fun.

And speaking of butterflies, a wordless story of one act of kindness is shown in "Little Butterfly" by Laura Logan (HarperCollins, $14.99, ages 4 to 8.) A little girl is coming home from school and having a bad day when her cat attacks a butterfly. She stops him and tries to help the butterfly, though it has a tear in its wing. The butterfly flies away but is soon back with its friends to take her on a magical journey. This is a truly lovely story about an act of kindness and the magic it can make.

Because every parent knows the problems it is to get preschoolers (or any age) to bed, there is the funny "How to Put Your Parents To Bed" by Mylisa Larsen with illustrations by Babette Cole (HarperCollins, $17.99, ages 4 to 8.) A young girl just wants to have fun, but has she seen how tired her parents are? She needs to put them to bed. They just need to do the dishes first or check an email. See? They aren't good at going to bed. They need help brushing teeth and getting into pyjamas and they get distracted by everything. This is a funny, twisted (and also true!) story that will make both parents and kids laugh.

Also for preschoolers is "Goose Goes to the Zoo" by Laura Wall (HarperCollins, $12.99, ages 4 to 8.) With brightly-colored by simple illustrations, the reader follows Sophie and Goose. Sophie thinks Goose needs a friend to play with while she is at school. Where to find one? The zoo of course! The giraffe is too tall. The crocodile wants to eat Goose. The flamingos just stand there. Will Goose make a new friend? This is a sweet tale of friendship with two lovable main characters.



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