Autumn is marked by leaves turning colors, the temperature cooling, and the days becoming shorter. The first day of fall, or fall equinox, is on September 22nd. On this day the length of day and night will be equal all over the world as the sun will shine directly on the equator instead of either towards or away from it.

This transitional season is also a time spent preparing for winter, particularly for many animals. Their fall activities include migrating, collecting and storing food, changing their coats, and preparing to hibernate. While humans may not hibernate (though sometimes that sounds nice), we have many habits that change in the fall. Summer vacations have ended, and we head back into our routines of school and work, we change wardrobes as well-swapping sandals for long sleeves and boots. We’re highlighting books like Exploring Fall, to help you prepare and enjoy all the changes that fall brings. For more titles search CLCD.

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Contributor: Emily Griffin


Animals in Fall: Preparing for Winter

Martha E. H. Rustad

Illustrated by Amanda Enright

Animals prepare for winter in many ways. Some migrate, some hibernate, and some change their coats in order to ready themselves for the cold weather ahead. Readers of this text are shown animals such as gray whales, monarch butterflies, rattlesnakes, and snowshoe hares, and they are introduced to the actions each animal takes to prepare for winter. While Rustad utilizes third-person voice for the factual text, the first and last pages show an unnamed narrator who speaks in first-person about the end of fall. Each two-page spread begins with an onomatopoeia describing an animal, and then informs the reader about the animal’s preparations for winter. A red fall leaf on each spread gives the reader more factual information about the animals. Rustad combines kid-friendly language with onomatopoeias, making the text easy to follow. Enright’s simple illustrations are sure to captivate young readers. The table of contents, a glossary, and an index serve well to teach primary students about text features in nonfiction. Included at the end of the book is an easy experiment about blubber. This is a part of the “Cloverleaf Books: Fall’s Here!” series. 2012, Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 5 to 8, $6.95. Reviewer: Anne Pechnyo (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780761350668

Apples A to Z

Margaret McNamara

Pictures by Jake Parker

“A is for apples” in this alphabet book, in which each letter stands for something related to apples. A perky sweater-ed fox, who presents us with an apple at the beginning, is joined by a cuddly bear and other animal friends, as they all get involved with him in the activities on the page for each letter. They rest or run under the trees as we learn about “B is for blossoms;” they join him at the apple press in “C is for cider;” and they jump in the fallen leaves from the apple trees in “D is for deciduous.” And so through the alphabet they go, as we learn about such subjects as grafting, pollen, seeds, and the many varieties of apples. Finally there are suggested related activities, fun with expressions and jokes, and a note on Johnny Appleseed. The story’s anthropomorphic characters have a cute, almost toy-like appeal. The emotional character is set in the jacket/cover illustration that shows the smiling fox offering a perfect apple to a bright-eyed bear as they stand amid hundreds of other shiny apples. 2012, Scholastic Press, Ages 4 to 7, $17.99. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780439728089

Fall Pumpkins: Orange and Plump

Martha E. H. Rustad

Illustrated by Amanda Enright

Going to a pumpkin patch in the fall is a common trip for many youngsters. As a prelude to this outing, adults may share this book with them. The large, childlike illustrations are easily viewed in a group or family setting. Chapter one describes the process of planting pumpkin seeds in the spring. The second chapter covers the growth process from flowering and pollinating to the appearance of tiny green pumpkins to full growth in the fall. How to use pumpkins is presented in the final chapter which includes carving one into a jack-o’-lantern. Leaf shaped sections on many of the pages contain unusual facts such as pumpkins may be red, green, white, blue as well as orange. A recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds is an added bonus. Other additions are an index, glossary, bibliography and websites. This series titled “Fall’s Here!” includes five other books. If material is needed for units about the seasons, consider adding this book to the collection. 2012, Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 3 to 6, $23.93. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780761350651

From Shoot to Apple

Stacy Taus-Bolstad

A part of the “Start to Finish: Nature’s Cycles” series, this colorful book traces the growth of apples. Each page of brief text represents one of ten chapters which are listed in the Table of Contents. The text is found on the left and a colorful full-page, color photograph illustrating the step is on the right. Young beginning readers will be able to follow clearly the steps in the development of apples from the time a farmer plants the tree from a tiny shoot until a child takes a bite of a juicy, red apple. Words that appear in bold are found in a Glossary at the end. An index is also included for easy reference. This short book provides a valuable and enjoyable reference for young readers in kindergarten or early primary grades but may be enjoyed by preschoolers as well. 2012, Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 5 to 8, $23.93. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780761377344

A Leaf Can Be

Laura Purdie Salas

Illustrated by Violeta Dabija

In this lyrical paean to leaves, author Laura Purdie Salas uses the imagery, rhyme and rhythm of poetry to describe, with complete yet whimsical accuracy, the many functions of a leaf. As the seasons change, a leaf changes from the “soft cradle” and “water ladle” of spring to the “wind rider” and “lake glider” of fall. Beautiful paintings by Violetta Dabija capture the energy and color of the seasons, from the tender exuberance of spring to the brown and orange hues of autumn to the quiet frost-speckled sepia tones of winter. Salas extends her minimal text with back matter that includes additional information about leaves and a list of resources. This book is sure to open a child’s eyes to the wonder of the natural world. 2012, Millbrook, Ages 3 to 6, $17.95. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780761362036

Why is it Fall?

Sara L. Latta

Vibrant photographs capture the beauty of the fall season and help to explain the many changes that occur as summer ends and winter approaches. The book begins by simply identifying the four seasons and then explains why we have seasons by showing how the earth tilts as is moves around the sun. Subsequent chapters provide simple explanations about why leaves change color and what happens to plants, animals, and people in the fall. There are only one to two paragraphs in each chapter, the text is large, and the vocabulary is easy. The glossary is at the beginning of the book and is referred to as “Words to Know.” The table of contents identifies each chapter in the form of a question such as “When does fall start?” The book concludes with an index as well as a list of recommended books and websites for additional information. This easy to read book is ideal for introducing early readers to science and weather. It is part of the “Why Do We Have Seasons?” series. 2012, Enslow Elementary/Enslow Publishers, Ages 4 to 8, $21.26. Reviewer: Denise Daley (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780766039858

Updated 9/1/12

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