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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

Sun, Rain and A little Patience: Two Books to Celebrate Spring

Allie from The Carle Bookshop shares two favorite Spring picture books that celebrate the season.

Photo of And Then It's Spring book cover propped in an early spring garden with a stone wall in the background and green plants just starting to come up.

Just try to find something truer about the suspense and promise of springtime than the “hopeful, very possible sort of brown” that we see in And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook Press, 2012). A young boy and his dog— and a few local animals and birds—go out into the empty brown expanse of their garden to plant seeds and wait for the green of Spring to arrive.

Interior illustration from And Then It's Spring shows a boy planting seeds in a brown bare garden with brown fields and a house with a smoking chimney in the background. He's wearing a raincoat and animals splash in puddles in the background.

Fogliano's hope-filled words and the broad skies and hidden details of Stead's illustrations make us wonder at the possibilities of Spring and when the seeds will sprout. It takes a long time and worry about thieving birds, stomping bears, and wondering if spring will come at all, until the seeds finally take root underground. Spring always comes, and hard work and patience always pays off.

Photo of the book Rain inside a colorful chalk drawing of a cityscape with blue raindrops

Rain! (Houghton Mifflin, 2013) by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson shows us how our outlook on our circumstances can change our circumstances as two very different people go out into the city on a rainy day. The old man says “RAIN!” while the child says “rAiN!” The child’s good mood rubs off on everyone he meets, while the old man’s mood turns smiles into frowns. We turn the pages as they come closer and closer to meeting. 

Photo of open book shows the left page illustration of a bald man with grey furrowed eyebrows looking out of a window at the rain. Above his head is the text "Rain!". He appears to be grumpy and the muted colors on his page reflect his mood. On the right page, a child has thrown open his window exuberantly with his hands in the air. The text above his head also says "Rain!" but the mood is joyful.

Writer Linda Ashman says of the story, “I was thinking about the power of moods one day, and how even an encounter with a stranger can lift your spirits or dampen them.” Even though the story is told mostly through Robinson's exuberant illustrations, it’s a great choice for reading aloud to children. Showing the illustrations, you can ask them, what is the little boy feeling? How are people on the street feeling, and why? Why do you think it’s called the Rain or Shine Café? And then when you’re done reading, you can go out to play in the rain too! 



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