And Then It's Spring

by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

A terrific new picture book tackles one of the toughest lessons in gardening, and in some ways modern life in general: patience and the pleasures that come to those who wait. It's like a charming kid's primer to the Slow Movement.

And Then It's Spring is Julie Fogliano's debut book and Erin E. Stead's sophomore follow up to her 2011 Caldecott Award winner A Sick Day for Amos McGee; still, you'd think these two were old masters. The text is minimal, poetic, and spot on. And Stead's woodblock printing and pencil technique are full of artful little considerations and subtle details you'll only discover after multiple readings and taking the time to savor each page.

A boy, his dog, a turtle sporting a tiny stocking cap, and a gregarious rabbit survey an empty plot of brown dirt, and then take it upon themselves to start a garden. First the seeds are planted in small mounds. Then they wait. Then it rains. Then they worry maybe birds ate the seeds, or illiterate bears stomped on them? Then they wait some more. Weeks pass. Then one day there's "a greenish hum that you can only hear if you put your ear to the ground and close your eyes." And then there's more waiting, so they hang a tire swing and construct a milk carton bird feeder. And then finally one morning they walk outside to discover the world carpeted in green grass and tiny sprouts shooting up from the ground.

(Image: Ben Partridge)