Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
It is winter and it is still cold. A young boy and his friends, a dog, a turtle and a rabbit, think that they have had enough of all that brown and decide to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, and they wait .... and wait .....and wait, but nothing happens. They wait, they watch and they worry for the little seeds that they have planted.
Did the birds eat the seeds? Did the big bears trample them? "Please, do not stomp here – there are seeds and they are trying", reads a sign driven in the ground.
Week after week, the boy and his friends watch the brown turn into a "hopeful brown" and finally change to a green of spring.
Their patience is rewarded: in the end, as seeds bloom, trees blossom and the earth turns green, and the little boy can sway happily in his tyre swing.
The beauty of this book and of the story lies in the details. To start with, the title on the front cover draws the main colours celebrated in the story: the brown for winter and the green for the birth of spring. Then: the red scarf flying in the wind as the boy faces the bleakness of winter, the rabbit watering the plants, the dog standing by attentively and later sleeping peacefully, the turtle wearing a matching hat, the subtle changes of the sky and, last but not least, the depiction of the maze of life that exists beneath the earth's surface.
Julie Fogliano's poetic and tender story of anticipation and patience as a virtue is brought to life by the extraordinary illustrations by Erin E. Stead. The pictures are created using a pencil and woodblock printing technique.
Erin E. Stead is Winner of the Caldecott Medal for "A sick day for Amos McGee", while "And then it's Spring" is one The Washington Post's Best Kids Books of 2012.
After this reading, gardening is, probably, the the most appropriate activity to propose.
The kids have been asked first to decorate a small vase using tempera colours and then to plant their small seeds to take care of at home. One day they will sprout and a beautiful pansy will blossom .... If they are patient enough to wait, and wait, and watch and worry.