written by Carole Gerber; illustrated by Leslie Evans
2013 (Charlesbridge Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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White dogwood wears a frosty crown.
Its limbs spread wider than its height.
Crab apple, too, is short and wide,
its fragrant flowers small and white.
Spring Blossoms starts with two girls and their dog (A black Labrador sporting a yellow bandanna. I'm in favor of dogs wearing bandannas.) taking a walk in the warm spring air. As they are walking, the children notice that buds and blossoms abound. The dogwood stands out with its pink border. There are few trees with prettier flowers than a dogwood and illustrator Leslie Evans gives it a glorious look. I like the comparison between the dogwood and the crab apple tree in the text. This book has a sparse amount of text, but I think that's just right for K-2 readers. With its rhyming description of the blossoms of ten different trees, children could take Spring Blossoms outside and use it as a field guide. When spring arrives (think April, poetry lovers), you could also write sets of lines on chart paper and have K-1 students read with you.
In the back matter you will find illustrations of the ten different trees represented in the book. An author's note in the back matter is a nice resource for a lesson on sequence. After reviewing the text on this page, students could create a flow chart with illustrations and captions. Comparisons between this flower life cycle and that of the butterfly could be made. If you really wanted to go old school, find blossoms from some of the trees mentioned in this book and press them in wax paper. Fond memories of my leaf book project in 5th grade go passing by.
Spring Blossoms will appeal to those kids, like my youngest daughter, who like to pick up everything from outside and bring it in to show you.