And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliana with illustrations by Erin E. Stead
This is one of the very few books I came across in a bookstore before seeing it at the library or online. I was immediately attracted to the title and the cover. The book delivered wonderfully. It's a quiet simple tale in which nothing much happens. We wait. The seeds are planted and we wait, surveying the brown countryside, hoping the seeds will sprout, that spring will really come.
The boys stays busy as he waits. He stomps in rain puddles. He plants other seeds, hangs a bird feeder, hangs a tire swing. Always, though, he returns to check on his seeds. In one cutaway, we see the earth beneath the seeds, teeming with life awaiting spring. On my favorite spread, the boy imagines bears tearing up his garden (because bears can't read the signs).
A number of other people have remarked that this is a book about patience, and I suppose it is, but for me the overwhelming thought as I read it was "wonder." The text inspires us to wonder: How can brown be "a hopeful, very possible sort of brown?" How can brown have "a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground and close your eyes?"
Perhaps, later this year, I'll see my children lying with their ears to the ground, their eyes closed, breathing softly to listen for the hum.