First Notes of Spring

Bloomsbury. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547604739.
K-Gr 2–Juniper the badger loves to play the drums (a perky red and white toadstool with sticks) and is excited to join other forest creatures in making music to wake up spring. But her audition ends in discouragement when Mr. Moose says spring must be awoken gently with flutes and strings, not noisily with drums. As Juniper walks through the forest, she hears beauty in loud, ordinary noises, like a woodpecker tapping a tree or a rabbit thumping the ground. When they join together to joyfully create music, winter melts away. There are plenty of repetitious onomatopoeia in big bold font throughout that readers will enjoy performing out loud. Adults will appreciate how Mr. Moose’s negatives about Juniper’s playing (too fast, too loud, too wild) become positives as Juniper’s group grows. Kids will delight in the unexpected images in the full spread woodland scenes, such as toilets in animals’ underground habitats.
VERDICT Universal topics like seasons and being true to yourself always do well on shelves; this is a nice addition to spring collections and a reminder to celebrate your strengths.

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