When I was coming up with the excellent reads for this installment of The Rainy-Day Book Club, it seemed most fun and appropriate to honour the debut of our gardening journal Sprouts and the incredible yummy goodness that February brings us from Eastern Canada in the form of maple syrup.
While many parts of North America are still snow packed and frosty, the weather on Vancouver Island is most definitely beginning its shift toward the warm rains and longer days of Spring. That means as we are busy getting our seeds sprouting inside for an April planting, it’s also a great time to get the kids into the life cycles of the veggies and flowers you’ll be cultivating and creatures you’ll be finding in the garden together.
Not really sure of how to do that with a preschooler, I headed off to the library and discovered The Life of a Broad Bean by Clare Hibbert.
I waffled a bit due to its plainly non-toddler format. But, after letting the tiny person look through it, I realized that while the details and reading were best suited for school-aged kiddos, the big, fun photos gave us lots of room to examine and explore the life cycle of the bean.
Part of the Raintree Books Life Cycles series which also includes The Life of a Tree, an Apple, a Sunflower, a Salmon and others, this book is a great addition to your home learning library and a fun way to get into gardening.
Meanwhile on the other side of the country, families are headed off into the sugar bush to tap trees as the annual process of making maple syrup begins. Even if you can’t make it to the Maple Syrup festival in Nanaimo this weekend to check the real thing out, taking a trip into the world where syrup is made is magic.
You can do just that through the lovely story At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney and Janet Wilson.
It takes a little bit to get into the groove with this tale. But, its quaint, old-skool illustration style and warm story about a young boy and his grandfather making maple syrup together is both sweet and educational.
Syrup is definitely one of those things that most of us have only ever seen in the grocery store stacks and tales like that from Carney and Wilson plug us in to a different perspective on sweets, connect us as Canadians through tradition and reveals a different way of life.
So, on this rainy day, while you are thinking about making pancakes and planning out your garden, check out The Life of a Broad Bean and At Grandpa’s Sugar Shack for two excellent ways to bring these final days of February to life.