Finding Spring

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Finding Spring Book Poster Image
A bear cub learns about seasons in artful, charming story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lessons about the seasons and the changes that characterize them. Also, animals and the seasons: bears hibernate, robins fly south for the winter, squirrels hoard acorns. Introduction to animal dens.

Positive Messages

The seasons are magical, with lots to take pleasure in.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maurice is curious about spring and sets off to find it. His mom is a source of comfort and protection.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Finding Spring is an artful, happy read about a bear named Maurice whose mom leads him to their cozy den to hibernate, but the little bear cub wanders out in search of spring and encounters snow as well as forest creatures preparing for winter. He returns, and when he and his mama awake and emerge, the spring has gloriously sprung. Author/illustrator Carin Berger's The Little Yellow Leaf was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2008; Finding Spring is a charming, classic story to read and reread, perfect for a home library.

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What's the story?

Maurice, a little bear cub, is looking forward to his first spring. Mama tells him it's hard to wait, but his thought balloons fill with spring flowers and he wanders out of their winter den. When he feels "an icy sting on his nose," he thinks the snowflake is spring, and on the Great Hill he witnesses an awe-inspiring flurry. Satisfied, he bundles up a big ball of snow to take back to the den, where he snuggles up to his mom in a cozy spread of animals in winter sleep. When they wake up and discover the ball of "spring" has melted, they head back to the Great Hill, now abloom in a riot of spring flowers. 

Is it any good?

This book is a keeper; the cut-paper-and-fabric collage art is layered, and the phantom words printed across the papers imply layers of meaning, with other stories whispered in the hushed woods. Berger's woods are magisterial; the pages of individual snowflakes and flowers pinned to the page feel magical, Maurice and the other animal characters charming.

The text is equally artful. The story, in which Maurice embarks on a journey and asks for help from a series of animals, has a classic structure and feel. And Berger's writing is fresh and striking: "The woods smelled musky and there was something new and tangy in the air." (That would be snow!) Kids can feel in-the-know when Maurice mistakes his first snowflake for spring and bundles up a snowball to save in the warm den.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the seasons. What characterizes the different seasons?

  • What do various animals do for the winter? Bears? Robins? Squirrels? Rabbits?

  • How do you stay warm in winter?

  • What are the signs of spring in your neighborhood?

Book details

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