Welll you'll have to forgive the quiet month of September as I've been settling in with my sweet, new bibliozealot: Henry Benedict. Now October is waning by and I've not said a peep about all the excellent fall literature out there. This season offers quite a feast of delights; it'll be difficult to narrow it to just ten. I'm also not going to dwell on specific holiday reads either just to keep the list focused. So come on in from these cold, dark days and grab a steaming mug of apple cider as you snuggle under a blanket with one of these lovely books:
Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall. Well this was a rather obvious first choice for me as I'm absolutely smitten with Barbara Cooney's illustrations in ANY book. But this story is really great for harvest time, following the natural season of work and self-sufficiency in a rural family. Despite it's extremely simple story line, there's a lot of material here for all kinds of studies should you feel so inspired with your children.
Autumn Story by Jill Barklem. You may think I'm boring and redundant by always listing a book from Jill Barklem's little series but you're wrong. I've often thought that if I could only have a few seasonal books on my shelf, this whole series would be there. The stories, illustrations, rich botany lessons and sweet characters really are honey for a child's heart.
Woody, Hazel and Little Pip by Elsa Beskow. It really is no wonder that pagans love Elsa Beskow and put her consistently in their reccommended author lists; she celebrates the magic of nature in a beautiful, spritely way... but I promise that you don't have to belong to any sort of alternative religion to appreciate her work, The art is divine and the story is as sweet as always. It's just pure whimsy and who doesn't love that?!
Now it's Fall by Lois Lenski. It just occurred to me that my Top Ten Summer list forgot to include Lenski's On a Summer Day.Boo. Because, like Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge books, these titles would easily win a contest for shelf space if they needed to. Lois Lenski books are small and unassuming and perfect for introducing and celebrating the season with small children. (Probably best for the 8 and under crowd)
Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor. Well, booklovers everywhere will recognize the name of this excellent author-illustrator. This isn't my very favorite title of hers but it is absolutely worthy of mention. The reason why it's inclusion is important in this list is because Pumpkin Moonshine is the only "Halloween" book I know of that isn't "Halloweeny." (You like that made-up word... smooth isn't it?) If you do or don't celebrate All Hallow's Eve, this book still is still relevant to celebrating the season. It's the sweetest, gentle story about a girl hunting for the perfect pumpkin and then carving it. No ghosts, goblins or gore need apply. And no mention of candy either... nice.
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky. One of these days, I'm going to write an entire post on Jim Arnosky and the importance of his books. But let's just start you off with this one, yes?! Good. Don't expect a traditional story with Arnosky, he takes on more of the fly on the wall role in simply narrating a particular scene with a particular animal in a particular time of year. Good stuff this is.
Apple Picking Time by Michele Slawson. I love this "living book." It tells the simple story of a little girl picking apples with her family. The sentiments evoked here are really nice, and it's so great to see exactly where apples come from and how they're picked. I'm a Washingtonian… so I am predisposed to loving this book. :-)
Snowsong Whistling by Karen Lotz. Confession: I don't know anything about Karen Lotz and I wouldn't make a point to seek out her other work because although the rhyming here is fine and fun, it's pretty unremarkable. This books wins a coveted spot on Ellie's Top Ten list because it's Elisa Kleven illustrating. And it's Elisa Kleven illustrating with a fall motif. Imagine the eye candy. (Save this book for a late November day or early December, just before the winter transition...)
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger. Here is another one to save for later in the season as we see a little leaf who can't bear to let go of the tree and accept the changing season. There is something very poignant about this and it's touched in a unique style by Berger throughout the stories pages. A gem.
Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser. This book is another one to save for those late November days, unless winter comes earlier in your part of the world. I'm in love with these illustrations; they are scribbly pencil drawings and really give a nice life to the season as squirrel and a few friends try to beat out mother nature and see this thing called "snow". It's quite funny what they consider to be snow and the kids will giggle. The best part is that when that magical white stuff finally does fall, the text in the book stops... it spends the last few pages just letting you watch the story unfold and end. I love it.