One day, several years into being a mother to several children, Heidi Pross Gray missed painting.
Like all of us parents, the time dedicated to hobbies disappeared over night. There is too much diapering, laundering, cleaning, cooking, playing, and picking up to warrant a few minutes for something with an uncertain purpose!
She forgot about how much she loved painting until one day, when she picked up a brush and painted a leaf. A single orange leaf—the perfect sort that your toddler picks up and shows you while walking under trees on a crisp Autumn afternoon. And that perfect leaf inspired her to illustrate and write (in that order, really) a series of books of seasons.
She has published three beautiful books—Spring is Here!, Autumn is Here! and Winter is Here! Summer is still missing, though I find the book’s absence so very fitting as it is the laziest season of them all, so the ideas for the book are most likely still lounging on the beach, slathered in sunscreen, reading the latest pulp fiction…
My children and I have read dozens of books on the seasons, and our favorites are the ones that have to do with the simple activities that correspond with the given season.
Happily, Ms. Gray seems to share this interest in simplicity of activities and has created little gems of books that list what I’m surmising are her four children’s favorite activities are in each of the seasons.
Spoiler alert: big, expensive activities are not among them! There are no ski trips to Aspen, no Spring Break trips through Europe, no long shopping list for Santa among her serene pages.
Instead, the signs of the seasons are what your kids will find if they spend an hour or two outside in quiet (or, if your kids are like my boys, semi-quiet) observation of the amazing stuff going on around them.
Since Spring is here, here’s a sample from Spring is Here!:
When bright green leaves fill the branches and birds return home, ready to nest…Spring is here!
When bright blue robin eggs wiggle…then twitch…then hatch…Spring is here!
When soil is scooped, turned, and fluffed, then sprinkled with tiny seeds…Spring is here!
Simple stuff, for sure. But these simple observations and simple activities (hopefully done with a thoughtful caretaker nearby to shed some light on what is happening or will be happening in each of the above examples) are so very important. They provide a solid foundation for kids to grow and explore and enjoy…and just be.
These books are great conversation-starters for sure. Use them in your home or your class to start a discussion—or a book of your child’s own making—about the activities or observations that your kids see in each season.
Maybe Ms. Gray has given us another little gift by not giving us a book on Summer. Perhaps she’s inviting us, parents and children together, to become authors and illustrators. We should grab a crayon or, like Ms. Gray, pick up a paintbrush, and illustrate our own ideas of how we know summer is here.
Autumn is Here!, Spring is Here!, and Winter is Here!
Written and illustrated by Heidi Pross Gray
Price: Available through amazon.com for approximately $10
|Easy to Read||5|
|Quality of Illustrations
|Appealed to Both Boys and Girls||5|
|Kept My Child(ren)’s interest||5|
|I Would Purchase This For My Family||yes|
|I would Purchase This As A Gift||yes
| Overall Rating
All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.
Meet the Reviewer!
Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom
and wife living in Great Falls, VA.
In addition to reading to her three
small hildren, Kate runs marathons,
Crossfits, and blogs about raising
kids with books at