Sunday, March 15, 2009

Counting the Days: The Twelve Days of Springtime by Deborah Lee Rose

On the first day of springtime my teacher gave to me
A garden to water carefully.

Spring has sprung in Kindergarten, and the class follows their hopeful teacher outside for a bit of nature appreciation, beginning with a spot of gardening. Kids carrying shovels, seed packs, trowels, a watering can bigger than most of them, and a long, long water hose get their, er, feet wet in the arts of horticulture, with predictable results. In fact the kids wind up with more dirt and water than the seeds do, but it's all in good fun, and their teacher bravely forges on to the next day's challenge.

On the second day of springtime my teacher gave to me
Two turtle ponds and a garden to water carefully

Of course, where there's water, there are many ways for kids to get wet--catching tadpoles, fishing (for sunken boots), and of course the ever-popular falling in!

But tomorrow is another day, and it's on to three seedlings to be planted, four ladybugs, and five daffodils ("like stars") to be counted. The kids get busy with their Acme Tree Planting Kit, all, including one kid's ever-present monkey doll, attired in construction paper lady-bug hats.

Of course, academics cannot be slighted in the giddiness of spring, so the sixth day of springtime brings "six signs to read (STOP, FIRE STATION, PUBLIC LIBRARY, POLICE, BOOK NOOK) on the traditional walking field trip. The fine arts can't be ignored, either, so the seventh day brings seven notes for singing (do, re, me, fa, sol, la, ti); the eighth day brings "wings for wearing" as the class dances like butterflies, bees, and dragonflies on the new grass; and the ninth day brings a field trip and "nine ducks for drawing" in an al fresco art lesson at Finkle Family Farm.

Back at school, the kids become poets, with "ten words for rhyming." Then it's back into the woods and over the creek on "eleven stones for stepping," and a return to their campus for "twelve flags for flapping." The kids celebrate their counting and the harried teacher celebrates the end of the celebration!

Carey Armstrong-Ellis' humorous cartoons of kids doing their favorite things in the balmy outdoors lend plentiful visual interest to this curriculum-related picture book. Each child in the class has his own personality--one girl draws horses, feeds horses, rides horses, and thinks about nothing but horses, while a chubby boy finds a way to chill out in every scene, and one horticulturist-to-be plants, tends, and picks her flowers in an impromptu bouquet for her long-suffering and deserving teacher. Even a friendly frog gets into the act, appearing on someone's head on every page. The Twelve Days of Springtime: A School Counting Book is a fine choice to introduce those annual classroom activities relating to the growing season.

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  • Your review of The Twelve Days of Springtime truly captured what Carey Armstrong-Ellis and I had so much fun creating.

    It was an elementary librarian who first inspired my lifelong love of reading (with Charlotte's Web), and I know you must have inspired and continue to inspire many, many children (and parents) through your work.

    By Anonymous Deborah Lee Rose, at 7:28 PM  

  • Thank you, Deborah. Nobody appreciates authors and illustrators more than children's librarians, without whom we would have no jobs and NO FUN!

    By Blogger GTC, at 8:11 AM  

  • There is now a PDF of a reading and activity guide to all three of my 12 Days Books, for fun use by librarians, parents, and teachers. Please let me know how I can email it to you.

    By Blogger Deborah, at 8:58 PM  

  • Delightful to read over and over again. Each time another detail pops out and something else is spotted in the fabulous illustrations. Our kindergarten class has loved visiting with these character friends throughout the year. September we started school with your Twelve Days of Kindergarten. We welcomed winter with your wonderful Twelve Days of Winter. This week we will celebrate Spring with our friends and their teacher too reading and singing the Twelve Days of Spring. Thank you for creating these fun counting books!

    By Anonymous Mrs. T, at 10:42 PM  

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