It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? New Books for Spring!


It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

After an extremely busy and eventful week (some amazing events and a few not!)  I am grateful I had the chance to take some time out to read some fantastic new picture books that I will be sharing with my students and staff in the coming weeks as we prepare for spring break and the last term of school.

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons – Jon Muth

What is not to love about this book?   Jon Muth is one of my favorite writer/illustrators.  I adore his soft watercolor pallet of colors and his gentle words.  This latest book is a charming collection of haiku poems to celebrate the seasons.  From careful observations of nature to insightful moments to nudge our thinking , I love every corner of this book.  Delightful.


Maple – Lori Nichols

In another charming book about seasons, we meet Maple – a sweet girl who is has a special bond with her namesake tree that her parents planted when she was born.  As Maple grows, the tree becomes an important part of her life and as she grows and changes through the seasons, so does her tree.  And when a baby sister arrives and won’t stop crying, Maple takes her outside and introduces her to her tree.  This is a wonderful book to celebrate a new baby.  An impressive debut picture book!

A Book of Babies – Il Sung Na

I loved Il Sung Na’s book Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit so was excited to see this new picture book about baby animals.  I am so drawn into his soft, charming illustrations  and simple, poetic text.  A baby duck takes the reader on a tour of different baby animals.  I like how each animal is distinguished by one unique feature:  father seahorse carry babies in their pouch, a baby zebra walks right away, baby fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters.  This would be a wonderful share for kindergarten and grade one students.

Spring is Here!

Spring is Here – Heidi Pross Gray

While there are numerous books about spring, I love the way this one weaves together both nature and family time.  The watercolor illustrations (have you inferred I am drawn to watercolor?) and rhythmic text creates a book that feels wholesome and excited about the coming of spring.

Poppleton In Spring

Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant

 I have so many wonderful memories of dear Poppleton and his friends Cherry Sue, Filmore and the wonderful characters in these beginning chapter book series by the profound Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Marc Teague.  Each book has three chapters – 3 short stories written featuring Poppleton the pig and his neighbours.   Some are funny, others tender and thoughtful.  In this book Poppleton does some spring cleaning, buys a new bike and stays up all night in a tent “noticing”.  I have many fond memories of reading Poppleton stories to my boys when they were younger and continue to spread Poppleton joy to the children at my school.  If you have never read a Poppleton story – I highly recommend it.

The Highest Number in the World

 The Highest Number in the World – Ray MacGregor

I live in a household where hockey takes precedent over pretty much anything else!  We were all up at four am to watch Canada play for gold at the Sochi games.  The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier is one of my all time favorite picture books.  There have been many hockey stories since but I have yet to find one that compares to it – until now.  This book is a gem.   It tells the story of a little girl who obsesses over the number 22 for her hockey jersey because it’s the number of her hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser.  Unfortunately, her new hockey team gives her the number 9 instead. She hates the jersey and wants to quit.  Enter her grandmother, who explains the important history of the number nine in hockey.   This is so much more than a hockey story – and the relationship between the granddaughter and grandmother brought tears to my eyes.  The illustrations are wonderful and full of detail – down to the NHL quilt set on her bed!  Whether you love hockey or not, this is a wonderful story.

Going Places

Going Place – Peter and Paul Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds pairs up with his brother for a their first book together, filled with the same creative free-spirit theme of Reynolds’s other books.  It’s time for the annual “Going Places”  go-cart contest.  Time to grab a kit, put together your go-cart and race to the finish line.  Each child grabs a “go-cart kit” and puts together identical carts.  Maya, however, decides to be creative and think outside the box, creating her own version and crossing the finish line in her own way.  A perfect book for encouraging children to march to their own drum on their way to the finish line!

Say Hello Like This

Say Hello Like This! – Mary Murphy

The Kindergarten teachers at my school do a farm unit in the spring so I was excited to find this new book by Mary Murphy for them to use!  It is a wonderful, interactive book that will make a perfect read-aloud to introduce the different sounds that animals make.  I love the funny adjectives Murphy uses in this book which is a follow up to her book  A Kiss Like This!  A wonderful book for younger students – prepare yourself for a noisy read-aloud!Orangutangled

Orangutangled – Sudipta Bordham-Quallen

This book is simply a fun, frolicky, read-aloud!  Two hungry orangutans climb a tree for some mangoes and end up falling together in a sticky, goey mess.  Other animals try to help but end up getting tangled up as well.  The rhyming text works perfectly and I love the word play and the bright illustrations.  Another great read-aloud choice for the younger folk!

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey – Jerry Spinelli

I am a big fan of Jerry Spinelli – Maniac Magee one of my favorite books to read to my class.  This one took me a while to get into – I was very confused at first and had to go back and reread several sections. I was once again amazed at his ability to weave characters we can identify with so well into a completely imaginative setting.  Hokey Pokey is an adult-less world of childhood and play – where kids play games, ride bikes, have adventures and follow the simple laws of the land.  Jack, the main character, experiences his world turn upside down when his beloved bike is stolen by a girl.  Without his bike, Jack feels lost and things start to go very wrong for him.  This book is reminiscent of Peter Pan – a boy who is struggling in the place between childhood and adolescence.   This story is unusual, it’s confusing in parts, and I’m still a little on the fence about it.  But it is certainly a book that is lingering in my thinking – a place where many great books have taken up residence.  I’d love to know what you think about it!

The Bear: A Novel

Bear – A Novel – Claire Cameron

This book is quite extraordinary.  It is written in first person, present tense in the voice of a 5 year old girl.  She and her brother are left alone to survive the elements after their parents are killed by a bear while out camping.  I was riveted by this story – many reminders of the child’s voice in ROOM.  I was also caught up by the emotional roller coaster of the story.  The description of the bear attack in the first 40 pages was completely terrifying – I had to stop reading it a few times.  While this book is considered an adult novel – I could really see it being read to a middle school class.  It is a story of survival and courage and I loved every moment of it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  What have you been reading lately?

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. The Styling Librarian

    Wow, what a gorgeous array of books! 🙂 Can’t wait to read those picture books… especially Hi, Koo!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Hi, Koo is definitely one you would want to read – it is a wonderful collection of Haiku poems – great for teaching and for sharing! Have a great week!

  2. Michele Knott

    I love the spring theme! We are so ready for it! Hi, Koo and Maple are 2 of my newest books. I loved Maple. I just put Going Places and Say Hello Like This on hold at the library 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      If you have loved other Reynold’s books, you will love Going Places. It was interesting to hear him talk about doing this book with his brother! Glad you love Hi, Koo and Maple! I think you will really enjoy Say Hello Like This – it’s especially fun reading it with a class of animal loving students!

  3. Tara Smith

    Poppleton! Oh, I did so love his adventures – and I loved his llama, too!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, I will always have a place in my heart for Poppleton and Cherry Sue! Such great memories of reading these stories to my children and so happy I can continue the Poppleton adventures with my students!

  4. Linda Baie

    Adrienne, Thank you for introducing so many picture books that look awesome, and sharing your ideas about Hokey Pokey and the new book Bear. I’m not sure I want to read it either, but it’s on a list of maybes! Wow-it does sound interesting.

  5. Adrienne Gear

    I would love to know your thoughts on Hokey Pokey if you ever decide to read it. I found The Bear so intense – but loved it for the writing and how the author managed to capture the voice of such a young child. Difficult to read at times, for sure. I found ROOM hard to read as well – did you read that?

  6. Myra GB

    Hi there Adrienne, I’ve read quite a few reviews about Hokey Pokey and the responses have been pretty much at both ends of the continuum – it seems like a you like it or don’t like it kind of book, so I’m glad to read your thoughts about this. I haven’t read Room, but I was taken by your description of The Bear – they sound like good companion novels. Jon Muth is simply amazing, isn’t he. I haven’t read Hi Koo! yet but I hope to find it in our library this week. 🙂

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, I’m still on the fence with Hokey Pokey – I’m glad I pursevered through the beginning and read it but just not sure how and if I’d use it with my students. Would love to hear others’ thoughts on it. You MUST read Room – it is an amazing book – so intense and hard to read at times but quite an experience! Bear is equally as intense – both children in situations of survival but brought on by completely different circumstances. Would be very interesting to read the as companion books with high school students. I agree – Jon Muth is a treasure. You will love Hi, Koo!

  7. carriegelson

    Such gorgeous picture books here. I love the look of this new title by the Reynolds brothers. Go karting! Yippee! I also love your spring theme. Spring and books makes me think I want to get many of my books organized and out into bins (I have a pile to be labelled behind my desk) Tis the season for some fresh titles. Like some of the lovely ones you have shared here! I read Room and whoa. Intense. Not sure if I am up to The Bear. The cover sure is captivating.

  8. Adrienne Gear

    Yes, it was great listening to Peter Reynolds talk about the collaboration with his brother on this book at the Toronto conference. The Bear is VERY intense- but such great writing in capturing the voice of this young child. Perhaps some of the spring books might be “lighter” choices for your spring break read-a-thon! Happy break and happy reading!

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