Children’s Book Giveaway: The Growing Story.
March 17, 2011

Today’s book = The Growing Story, written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.  (I believe the original illustrations were done by Phyllis Rowand, but I have never seen one of the vintage copies.)

An oldie, but a goodie, this one.  (Very goodie.)


Story-time with Grandpa!

The plot of The Growing Story is refreshingly simple.  A boy and his mother, their puppy, and a handful of chicks live together on a farm.  When the seasons change throughout the course of the year, the boy observes that the crops and the animals grow.  The puppy becomes a rambunctious dog, the chicks become chickens, the crops and orchard cycle through their annual pattern.  As everything around him grows, he wonders if he is growing too?  His mother reassures him that he is, but it is not until she digs out his old winter clothing from the year prior for him to squeeze into that he has a tangible measure of growth.

The Growing Story is the oldest children’s book that I’ve discussed here.  It was originally published in 1947 and I feel that it is as exceptional and charming today as it must have been then.  The story explores both the ceaseless curiosity and the genuine wonder that children experience and, as a result, both relate to and appreciate.  It also deals with growth and seasons, two topics that are incredibly prevalent in a child’s world.

Oxenbury’s illustrations are creative and timeless.  They are also breathtakingly lovely, but you should probably take that statement with a grain of salt: I have never come across and Oxenbury illustration that I do not love and I have a history of picking up books purely because she illustrated them.

Luckily, she seems to have good taste.

Overall, I would say that Krauss’s book is very sweet.  I think that it is a fun book to read to young children, but older toddlers and young school-age children seem to appreciate it the most.  Winter is alluded to but not shown in the illustrations, which is a shame, but I cannot think of any other criticism.  It is fun to show Charlotte the changing of the seasons over the year and the ways that the plants and animals all grow.  Sometimes we just turn the pages without reading the text and just talk about the pictures that Oxenbury has created.  Either way, it’s a very enjoyable book and I highly recommend it.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail answering this: what is your favorite way to welcome a new season?  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Sunday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  You can leave one entry every day.

To purchase this book: You can buy The Growing Story through Amazon.com (that link uses my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.


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  1. By Christy on March 17, 2011

    Summer is my favorite season. Living through Chicago winters can be brutal and there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to FINALLY open the windows and let that warm breeze through the house. That’s the way I welcome my favorite season…by opening up my house and letting it in.

  2. By on March 17, 2011

    Sounds like another great book!  My favorite way to welcome a new season depends on the season.  I like to welcome spring by doing a bit of spring cleaning (but not TOO much of that, watching for new life and returning wildlife, and making plans for warmer weather!

  3. By on March 17, 2011

    Spring is my favorite season to welcome in and maybe because its my chance to open everything up and clean out the clutter and things that aren’t needed that have accumulated with 3 kids! It’s like a fresh start once a year!

  4. By on March 17, 2011

    my fav way to welcome a new season is SWITCHING UP MY WARDROBE!! yay!!! and this year i can do baby’s clothes too :)

  5. By Rachel J on March 17, 2011

    We like to get out and enjoy it - if it’s spring or summer or fall. We also change out our wardrobes.

  6. By on March 17, 2011

    This sounds like such a great book, especially since I am the mom of a “so smart sweet boy” (age 2 and half) and we have a beagle puppy. I’ll have to put this on my Mother’s Day wish list!
    Here in FL we don’t have a huge shift in the seasons but in the fall when it starts to get cooler we like to open the windows and say “Welcome in cool wind!“

  7. By on March 17, 2011

    other than switching up wardrobe, well, mostly putting the knits in the back or the front of the closet, i would say work in the garden. there’s always something to do when the season changes.. something that you didn’t get to do for a whole year. i love it.

  8. By on March 17, 2011

    I love to stand under the pear tree in my front yard, and watch the petals fall around me…of course, that’s only to welcome spring!

  9. By on March 17, 2011

    I love welcoming Spring! I get to open all the doors and windows and let in tons of fresh air while cleaning out things. Plus it’s the time I get to start playing outside much more often without bundling up!

  10. By on March 17, 2011

    mostly just getting out and enjoying whatever season it is now, also Nolan is getting more appreciative of the world around us as well, so introducing him to summer for REAL this time will be great, pools, BBQ’s etc.. I love the seasons, but Winter I only love for the first few weeks :) I was born to be a warm weather girl!

  11. By on March 17, 2011

    My favorite season to welcome is Fall. I love the feeling of starting new. I think most people feel that way in the spring but after a summer of fun, I like getting ready for going back to school and how the days get crisp but the summer sun still lingers for a bit. We buy new school supplies and clothes and gear up for football games. Love it!

  12. By Jennifer W on March 17, 2011

    I love to remake the bed with new comforter and pillows. Makes everything seem fresh and new.

  13. By on March 17, 2011

    Our favorite way to welcome a new season is to decorate the house accordingly and to do activities that correlate to that season.

  14. By on March 17, 2011

    I like to welcome spring by doing some spring cleaning and getting rid of clutter that hasn’t been in use for the past year…or 5.

  15. By dandy on March 17, 2011

    We like to do a little something to celebrate on the solstice or equinox with something pertaining to the season as well as baking something special

  16. By etosia thornbury on March 17, 2011

    Unfortunately the seasons don’t really change here in FL. The only seasons we really have are tourist season and hurricane season and we don’t really welcome the later. So I guess I would say we welcome “winter” as it is a break from the humidity and heat that the March-December bring! We pack away our swim suits and flip flops and buy hooded sweatshirts and get out our closed toed shoes! : )

  17. By beyond on March 17, 2011

    i love putting on flip-flops when the season gets warmer. here in nyc it’ll be a while yet…

  18. By on March 17, 2011

    This is such a great book.  I love timeless stories!  For us, this spring is going to be all about jumping in puddles and digging in dirt because my son just started walking and well, we can!  Plus, we are in a new house with a place for a garden in back.  Can’t wait to plant, plant, plant!

  19. By Jennifer W on March 18, 2011

    Spring Training games are a must here in AZ. Course then you also now that anyday is going to get really hot.

  20. By on March 18, 2011

    I love to welcome winter by breaking out all of the winter gear from storage—mittens, scarves, hats, coats, and best of all, snoeshoes.  When we get a good snowfall, my favorite thing is to head out into the woods with snowshoes.  Magical!

  21. By Jel on March 18, 2011

    I love books so im joining this :)

    We usually celebrate a new season with a small family gathering and a little eating :D

    punkme15 at gmail dot com

  22. By on March 18, 2011

    We welcome fall with apple picking and pumpkins. Winter with hot cocoa and scarves. Spring with long walks and the great outdoors. Summer with trips to mommom’s pool and ice cream :)

  23. By on March 19, 2011

    I love to welcome fall most of all by getting out of doors and taking in the beautiful fall colors.  I always associate fall with back-to-school, so for me, it’s also a time to get organized and get ready for more reading and learning.  I love to prepare a cold-weather reading list in the fall in anticipation of spending more time indoors.  And I also love to anticipate the holiday season and start getting ready for that!

  24. By Kristie on March 19, 2011

    I like to welcome Spring by going on walks and breathing the fresh Spring air! :-)

  25. By on March 19, 2011

    I change out pillows and throws to correspond with the season!

  26. By Mary @ Parenthood on March 19, 2011

    We read books about the season and do seasonal crafts, but mostly the seasons just happen..  Here they are so clearly different from each other that every changes depending on the season.  Winter means boots and big coats and sleds and snow and ice and squash.  Spring means fiddleheads and playing in slushy snow and watching for new growth and baby animals and getting to leave your coat off.  Summer means shorts and berries and camping.  Fall means jackets and corn and bonfires and raking leaves.

  27. By on March 19, 2011

    to have celebratory seasonal outing

  28. By on March 20, 2011

    Summertime!  I love to welcome summer by going on a summer vacation or planning a vacation!  Of course, wanting doesn’t always mean getting!  Ha! Ha!  But warm weather does generally mean we head out onto the trails for longer hiking trips and camping.

    BTW, if you love the illustrations of Helen Oxenbury, I think you would also love Gyo Fujikawa.  Check out “Oh, What a Busy Day!“, “Babies” and other books.

  29. By on March 20, 2011

    I love to welcome the new seasons with fresh, seasonal food.  RIght now the first spring vegetables are appearing at the farmer’s market and I’m cooking with asparagus and spring greens!

  30. By on March 20, 2011

    We welcom the new Spring Season by throwing open the windows ao let in a wonderful cool breeze. We also are on the look-out for all the new flowers and trees in bloom. Spending lots of time outdoors in another fave thing to do to welcome spring.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  31. By Sandra on March 23, 2011

    Hi Sarah,
    when I read through your blog and especially through your book recommendations, I stumbled over one thing…

    My mother-in-law is Canadian, and when my husband was a small boy, she always used to read books from Dr. Suess (he was an American writer and cartoonist most widely known for his children’s books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone) to him.
    Still today, at the age of 35, he talks about these funny children’s books that he remembers so well and likes so much. He likes them SO much that I had to order them via Amazon (at least the ones available via Amazon) for our own children (we do not have any children yet! ;-).

    Do you know these Dr. Suees books? I had a look at them, and I must admit, that I immediately fell in love with these funny creatures and stories for children. The most famous ones are “green eggs and ham” or “the cat in the hat” or “Horton hears a who”...
    Maybe you would like them too and would like to write about one of these books in this blog.

    Just wanted to let you know this - funny, how you remember books from your own childhood after more than 30 years, eh?

    :-)


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