Spring Into Spring with The Ottawa Public Library

By Tracy Facchin, Children's Public Programming Public Service Assistant

Spring is here and with it come a whole slew of new and exciting books to read. So snuggle up with your little ones and take a look at these great reads suggested by our friends at the Ottawa Public Library!

The Inside Tree by Linda Smith

Kind-hearted Mr. Potter allows his dog inside to share his comfortable, cozy house and as the title suggests, he decides to bring a lonely looking tree inside, as well. Brimming with vocabulary, this humourous story will have little ones guessing what will happen next. The illustrations capture the craziness of the situation, with Mr. Potter singled out in a bright orange and red striped pattern on every page.

inside tree

The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside by Cynthia von Buhler

This story is based on the authors experience as she patiently earned the trust and affection of a stray cat.  The captivating illustrations are my favourite feature of this unique book.  The characters, their clothing, the tiny house, and all of its’ adorable miniatures have been created by hand.  The scenes were photographed using a variety of coloured filters, giving an indoor or outdoor feeling to each page.  The cumulative text will encourage youngsters to help with the storytelling.


The Berenstain Bears Inside Outside Upside Down by Stan & Jan Berenstain

This book is a favourite from my own childhood! It is a wonderful early reader, with lots of repetition and images that support the text.  The idea of being taken on a little trip somewhere by accident sparks the imagination, and could lead to an interesting conversation with a child about where the box could’ve ended up!


Scooter in the Outside by Anne Bowen

This is a fantastic read-aloud book, as the text is full of super-fun things to say!  Scooter the dogs’ wet kiss is a ‘SLOPPITY-SLURP’ and his wagging tail goes ‘THWAPPA-THWAPPA-THUMP!’ Poor Scooter gets more than he bargained for when he escapes out an open door headed outside on his own. Children will like Scooters curious nature and will learn about making careful decisions.  The illustrations are bright and cheerful and the story has a happy ending to an outdoor adventure!



Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

The dedication in this book is ‘To children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes’, and it is a sweet story about an imaginative little bunny that pretends a plain cardboard box is anything but!  The minimalism of the line drawn illustrations will appeal to even very young children, while the text will inspire readers to stretch their own imagination.  I love that the cover is brown and rough like a piece of cardboard!


Animals Home Alone by Loes Riphagen

Wordless books enhance creativity, vocabulary, and language development. In this book, the animals in the house go WILD when their owners leave! Their silly antics include a pig who hogs the T.V remote control, a cat who chats on the telephone and a goldfish that swims around in the dog’s water dish. There are so many things to look at and to talk about on each page and it is easy to use your imagination to create your own story.  At the end of the book, the author prompts the reader to recall what they have seen, with questions like ‘What is on Petey’s beak?’ and ‘Why is Katherine’s cage empty?’



A Dragon Moves In by Lisa Falkenstern


Bringing home a newly-hatched stray dragon turns into a problem for Hedgehog and Rabbit, when their friend gets too big for their house!  Quirky characters and charming illustrations carry this story through to its happy ending.  Rabbit and Hedgehog problem solve and work together to build a castle big enough for all of them!  Their pet fire-breathing dragon thanks them with a fireworks display!


Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

This is a great book for inquisitive children who are interested in construction and about how a house is made from the ground up.  Based on the author’s own childhood experience with his parents and two sisters, the family gives up their city life to build a homestead in the country.  What I love most about the book is that everyone is involved in the building process; both the Dad and Mom (even with a round expectant belly!), all of the children, and even extended family and friends.  Teamwork, hard work and the importance of family are values that are ‘built-in’ to this story.