Monday, September 22, 2014

Who loves kids' books? Books for all four seasons

In honour of the autumnal equinox today, and the fact that it coincides with the momentous return of British Columbian public school students to school, I thought I'd share a lovely series of books celebrating the four seasons. Three out of four of the books are written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Mark Jones with "Mermaid Dance|" (summer) being the outlier (written by Marjorie Rose Hakala and illustrated by Mark Jones). I was first introduced to this series by a friend and became slightly obsessed with collecting the whole set. Caveat: some of these books are hard to find, I think "Mermaid Dance" is particularly rare. They were all published by Blue Apple Books between 2008-2010 and I think they're mostly out of print.

"By the Light of the Harvest Moon" celebrates the autumnal equinox. I've been reading it to my daughters over the past week and we brought it to school today so Sophia's teacher could read it to the class. What I love about these stories is that they're whimsical stories with imaginary characters and they centre on the equinoxes and solstices. If you're aware of other fictional series about the seasons, please let me know, because I love to celebrate the change of seasons!

The book is full of beautiful illustrations and starts with a harvest moon rising over a hillside full of yellow, orange, and crimson trees.

The leaf people enter the picture and start preparing for a big party to celebrate the autumnal equinox.

It turns out it's a dessert party, the best kind of party!

Then Grandma tells the children what the equinox means and everyone eats pie. All's well that ends well!

The series continues with "Snow Party" about a group of snowmen (snowpeople? they are men, women, and children) who have a winter solstice celebration complete with music, dancing, and icy treats.

The first book I purchased from this series was "Butterfly Birthday" and I gave it to my daughters, who have birthdays very close to the spring equinox. In this book, all the insects gather for a party to celebrate the coming of spring and at the perfect moment, the butterflies emerge to take the celebrations to the next level.

The last book in this set is "Mermaid Dance" and although it was written by a different author, it still has Mark Jones' lovely illustrations. In "Mermaid Dance", a group of mermaids has a summer solstice feast at the seashore.

I hope you've enjoyed this peek at this collection of books celebrating the seasons. I wish you luck in finding them in your public libraries, used book stores, or favourite online sources. Happy autumn!


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