Our group of Upper East Side early childhood education experts list their favorite books to welcome spring! What are some of your family’s favorites? Leave your comments here, and we may share some of your picks.

Vicky McLaughlin, Director of Early Learning Foundations Preschool
The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Krauss
My all time favorite spring book! Despite all the skeptics that surround him, a little boy plants a carrot seed, waters and nurtures it until it grows to be too big for his wheelbarrow. The Carrot Seed is a great read for children of all ages. The text is simple and the illustrations convey the hopeful spirit of a child and the progression of how a seed grows into a plant.

Chris Vollaro, Director of Gymnastics and Sports at Gymtime
“Hi! Fly Guy” by Tedd Arnold
On one boy’s quest to find the most amazing pet to bring the “The Amazing Pet Show,” he comes across a fly. This is not just any fly, he is smart, has wit, character and determination. Together, the boy and the fly convince the skeptics that a fly really CAN be a pet.

Melissa van Wijk, Director of Tiny Tot Fitness Program at Gymtime
“What Means That?” by Edie Pijpers and Paul Willis
Edie is a local artist from Holland (like me!) and her artwork is so exciting. She did a series of paintings inspired by her nieces, put them together and wrote this book. “What Means That?” follows these two little girls as they go out and discover the sun, birds, music and much more. Edie’s books and artwork are available on her Etsy shop.

Jeannie Chan, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool
“The Small Seed” by Judith Nicholls
This is a great book that offers textures for those little fingers to touch and colorful pictures to see. Your child can learn how plants develop from seeds and the importance of light and water. The concepts are simple and easy for toddlers to understand. At the end, the last page unfolds to reveal a tall sunflower.

Carla Jolis, Director of Cooking for Gymtime, Early Learning Foundations and York Avenue Preschool
“Growing Vegetable Soup” by Lois Ehlert
“Growing Vegetable Soup” is a popular book for the spring in the Gymtime kitchen. The illustrations are bold and colorful, and the story clearly explains how different vegetables grow from tiny seeds or plants to ripe produce that must be either plucked from its protective leaves, dug from the ground or picked from a vine. The book also describes the growing process to turn these foods into healthy veggies. Like us, they need to be nurtured with weeding, watering and lots of sunshine.

Max Stadnik, Director of Art at Gymtime, Early Learning Foundations and York Avenue Preschool
“Flower Garden” by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Katheryn Hewitt
This story is about a girl and her father who buy potted flowers from the supermarket and plant a garden in a window box outside their apartment. The illustrations are bold and bright, with a rhyming text to keep toddlers captivated.

Karyn Smith, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool
“Splish, Splash, Spring” by  Jan Carr
In this wonderful spring book, three children and a dog brave the wet weather and go outside to enjoy spring. This catchy, rhyming text describes all of their activities, as they dodge raindrops and splash in puddles. When the sun comes out, they take off their raincoats, fold their umbrellas and enjoy the beautiful day ahead of them. They discover baby robins begging for food and help the mother dig up worms. They admire crocuses and daffodils, look at spiders and bees and do cartwheels down a hill. The colorful cut-paper collages are filled with a variety of interesting textures.  The vivid language, bright artwork and non-stop action make this book a good choice for group sharing in any early childhood setting.

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