I know fall officially started a couple of weeks ago, but not so as anybody in Texas would notice it. The air has felt a little crisper the past few mornings, however, and I’ve had to throw on a hoodie to keep warm. So the time seems ripe for sharing some of our favorite picture books for fall:
In Harvest Home, Jane Yolen weaves together an inspiring portrait of a family working together to bring in a bountiful harvest. The verse is written in the steady rhythm of a field song, and the Greg Shed’s beautifully warm illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the lilting text.
Stephen Savage’s reverse counting book, Ten Orange Pumpkins, traces what happens to a crop of pumpkins that slowly disappear, one by one. While the rhyming verse may shroud the fate of the pumpkins in mystery, the simple illustrations leave little doubt as to what exactly happened to each one. We checked a copy of this one out from our local library, and my little ones loved searching the pages for clues as I read the text aloud.
I found Loretta Holland’s book Fall Leaves striking for two reasons. First, the sparse text employs some very clever wordplay to teach children multiple meanings for the title words. I love words, so that appealed to me both as a reader and a teacher. Second, the luminous illustrations by Elly MacKey are absolutely gorgeous. Several of my children enjoy art as much as I do, and we gazed long and hard at the pictures in this book, trying to figure out exactly how they were created.
Children will readily relate to the title character in Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze, as he tries to come up with a cause-and-effect explanation for the changes he is noticing in the world around him (leaves and apples falling from the trees) and
totally misses the mark, thinking his sneezes are to blame for the seasonal changes he is observing. This story makes a great bedtime book, as it ends with bear settling down for a long winter’s nap, once the autumn wind sets him straight.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin traces the growth of a pumpkin from seed to sprout to blossom to heavy round fruit ripe for the picking. One of my children is an avid gardener, and books like this appeal especially to him and inspire him to plant a few pumpkin seeds in his own little garden bed.
We normally don’t carve pumpkins at our house, but even if we did , there is little chance we’d keep one around long enough to watch it rot. And that is precisely what I love about David Scwartz’s Rotten Pumpkin — it gives my children a glimpse of something they would not be likely to see otherwise. This “tale told in fifteen voices” includes lots of yucky photos documenting what exactly happens to a jack-o’-lantern once Halloween night is over. It’s gross, but fascinating, and provides a good science lesson, to boot.
And that’s my short list. What autumn-themed books do you like to read this time of year? Please share titles in the comment section below.