Each season has its charms, but none is quite so intoxicating as spring. This spring's crop of new poetry books for children includes several wonderful titles to help readers of all ages appreciate the many facets of spring, including flowers, rain and, of course, mud, as celebrated here by Douglas Florian: The spring rains came and made a flood, so now there's mud and mud and mud.

The only cure for springtime muds, is suds, and suds and suds and suds.
A poet and artist, Florian is the reigning prince of poetry for children, somehow managing to combine innovative art with insightful poetry in book after book. In his latest, Handsprings, Florian celebrates the freshness and promise of spring and the joyful feeling that leads to handsprings at the start of this new season. Florian's work can be silly, as in Hey Day, which proclaims, The sky has fell, the seas are dry. The fish are swimming in the sky. The moon is cheese. There is no school. And you are such an April fool! Florian's poems also often include clever wordplay that deepens and enriches a child's appreciation of the season. Take this entry: Sometimes sun and sometimes rain Spring is one big daisy chain. Sometimes warm, and sometimes chilly spring is silly daffodilly. Deborah Hopkinson's new book, a Junior Library Guild selection entitled Up Before Daybreak: Cotton and People in America, will be published this month.

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