With the weather finally cooling down and pumpkins making their appearance at grocery stores around town, it’s finally starting to feel like fall. Young children will be curious about the busy activities of the squirrels in their yard and the sudden appearance of Halloween decorations and candy at every store. Reading books about the seasons helps kids make sense of the changing world around them. Whether you are still looking for inspiration to get excited about this beautiful season or you are already a fan, here are four picture books that perfectly evoke the wonders to come and are sure to please the youngest readers in your house.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
An adorable bear notices the leaves falling from the trees and grows increasingly distressed. Where will they go now, he wonders. He gets to work gathering as many as he can and deposits them into a big hollow tree trunk. Realizing he has the perfect place to take a rest, the bear cuddles up and falls asleep on the leaf pile, ready for the cold weather! Simple, with only a few words per page, Leaves works great for young toddlers up to preschool age.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
This sweet, classic tale shares many traits with David Ezra Stein’s Leaves, except the story features more words and works better for a slightly older child. Fletcher is a young fox saddened by the sight of leaves turning brown and falling to the ground. When he wakes one morning to see the tree covered with white frost and snow, Fletcher realizes that the brown leaves don’t necessarily signify the tree’s demise but its transformation.
Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon
Salina Yoon’s penguin stories are full of heart and simple, positive messages that will resonate with preschoolers. When the penguins realize that autumn will not be coming to their icy home, they decide to take a trip in search of leaves and pumpkins. Whimsical details abound in Yoon’s bright illustrations and children and parents alike will enjoy seeking them out on every page.
The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
A story time classic this time of year, Nancy Tafuri can always be counted on to deliver the perfect mix of story, repetition and wonderfully expressive animal characters. As the weather turns colder, all of the animals in the forest invite Squirrel to do various activities with them, but he is too busy to join them. Why is the squirrel so busy? By the end of the story, all is revealed when we see the squirrel cuddled up to sleep surrounded by the nuts he has gathered. A perfect read aloud for teachers, librarians and parents. Tafuri’s books offer many opportunities for discussing the pictures and asking simple questions about plot.