We’re in the full flush of spring now, and if you’re looking forward to getting outside more often, I have a great selection of picture and board books that have a focus on nature, whether that’s the plants you might grow or the creatures you might discover. All of these were sent to me free of charge, but my opinions are my own as always.
One Little Seed by Becky Davies and Charlotte Pepper, from Little Tiger
This is a lovely, joyful non-fiction book all about seeds and their amazing power to grow. It’s full of flaps cleverly set into the gorgeous artwork, letting you lift petals, leaves, pots and more to discover what’s hiding underneath. Some of the flaps are a little bit delicate (there’s a super narrow runner bean flap, for example), so this is probably one best read together, or for children who have learned to be careful – the text isn’t too complicated and doesn’t dig into the science behind plants, so I’d say it’s perfect for pre-schoolers. I loved how every flower, seed and creature is labelled with its name – it’ll make spotting things in the garden really fun. There are a few tips on how to make space for plants even if you don’t have a traditional garden, and even a recipe for seed bombs. It’s the perfect read for kick-starting a love of gardening!
Sam Plants a Sunflower by Kate Petty and Axel Scheffler and Tilly Plants a Tree by William Petty and Axel Scheffler, from Nosy Crow
These two books are produced in collaboration with the National Trust, and are sweet stories that hide a lot of information about plants and how they grow! The Axel Scheffler illustrations are as charming as you’d expect, and I really liked the minimal incorporation of flaps, in the flower bed and pots only, to allow you to see the different stages of seed growth. Then, at the end, there’s a huge pop up of the fully-grown plant! Both books feel really true to the excitement of planting something as a child and waiting for it to grow – I liked Sam’s repeated line of ‘I like [this stage], but where are my big yellow sunflowers?’, which was really cute. I will say that I’m going to hold onto these until my two-year-old is a little older, because they feel quite delicate – the flaps and pop ups are just on normal paper pages, which makes me fear for rips! But older toddlers will absolutely love them.
Who’s Hiding in the Garden? by Amelia Hepworth and Pintachan, from Little Tiger
Here’s one that is perfect for little hands, though! We love Pintachan’s What Can You See? series, which I’ve reviewed before, and this is a similarly lovely interactive board book with bright, retro-feeling art. The shaped pages are really good fun, and while the flaps are not as sturdy as the other series (thin card rather than thick), this still feels really strong and easy to handle. You help Mummy Snail find her five babies hidden around the garden, so it’s great for working on counting too as each has a number on their shell. It’s just really sweet!
The Tree Book by Hannah Alice, from Nosy Crow
This is such a beautifully designed, innovative read. It progresses through the seasons, showing each stage of a tree’s life through fantastic clear overlays that layer up to change each image. It’s so clever, and I could spend hours looking at all the details. It’s also really informative, with bitesize chunks of text that deliver a lot of facts before you even know it, about everything from pollen to photosynthesis, so this would be perfect for primary school kids keen on science (and you might even learn something yourself!). This might be my favourite of all the books in this post, just because that overlay design is so fabulous – it’s really one you only need to see to fall in love with.
Seaside and Countryside by Anne-Kathrin Behl, from Nosy Crow
Two more Nosy Crow/National Trust books, this time perfect for younger toddlers – I had to take this picture during naptime as they have barely been put down since they arrived! The Big Outdoors for Little Explorers series is off to a great start, with absolutely gorgeous soft artwork and a really fun array of sliders – we love the dancing crab and the pecking seagull! My son is really into sea creatures so the Seaside book is his favourite, and the crabs (a red one and a green one) are always greeted with delight when we get to their pages. There’s rhyming non-fiction text on each page, but it honestly took me a while to notice because it’s so naturally written, rather than feeling like it was shoved into a rhyme scheme! I really recommend these.