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And Then It's Spring

By Julie Fogliano

Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

This is a simple story, with quiet, poetic text that reflects the feeling most of us have this time of year as we anxiously wait for the brown of late winter to turn to the green of early spring. And Then It's Spring is a story of hoping and waiting, of late winter doldrums and relief at the arrival of spring, and of the worrying, waiting and excitement that go into the process of growing a garden.

A young boy and his most endearing animal companions dig and plant, and then begin the tedious process of waiting for those first signs of green to sprout. The delicate illustrations are the perfect complement to the spare text as the pages take us through the days of waiting and how those days are filled. The beauty in this book is in the details; humorous details that will captivate readers and make this a must-read-again-many-times in order to catch them all.

Caldecott Medal award winner Erin Stead used block print and pencil technique to illustrate this charming book and has captured the sense of spring’s arrival with just the right touch. If you too have had enough of winter brown all around, spend some time with and then it’s spring and feel your winter thaw begin to melt.

In this Issue


Milk Carton Bird Feeder

If you and your young reader are still waiting for those first days of spring, here's the perfect activity to fill those final dreary, brown days.

Young readers will delight in seeing feathered friends flock to the feeder they decorated themselves. Keep in mind that, like our other bird feeder activities, it might take a while for birds to actually try out a new bird feeder, so be patient!

Milk Carton Bird Feeder

Milk Carton Bird Feeder


  • 1/2 gallon milk carton, rinsed out and allowed to dry
  • Permanent marker
  • Adult scissors
  • 2 wooden paint stirrers
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • String or yarn
  • Birdseed

Adult Preparation

  1. Using permanent marker, draw a rectangle on each side of milk carton. 
  2. Using sharp scissors, cut out each rectangle. 
  3. On two opposing sides, cut slits the width of the paint stirrer, beneath the rectangle about 1 inch from the bottom.
  4. On other two sides, cut slits the width of the paint stirrer about 1/2 inch from the bottom.
  5. Insert paint stirrers through slits and out opposite side. 
  6. Use scissors to make hole in top seam for hanging.
  7. Tie a loop of string for hanging 

Step for Young Reader

  1. Paint! Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. 
  2. Once dry, fill with birdseed and hang out for the birds.


Carrot and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Inspired by the sunflower and carrot seeds sown in the book, these muffins are full of healthy ingredients, from Greek yogurt, shredded carrots, protein packed sunflower seeds, and a touch of honey. The sweetness of

An interesting note: Filled with inspiration after reading And Then Its Spring, we chose carrot and sunflower seeds like those features in Erin Stead's beautiful illustrations to be the featured ingredients in these tasty, healthy muffins. Perfect for enjoying outdoors in the warn spring sunshine or indoors during a spring rain. 

An intersting note: you may notice your sunflower seeds turn green after baking. This is a chemical reaction between the seeds and the baking soda.  From brown to green, just like springtime garden in the book!

Carrot and Sunflower Seed Muffins - And Then It's Spring - Off the Shelf

Carrot and Sunflower Seed Muffins - And Then It's Spring - Off the Shelf


Carrot and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup nonfat yogurt (Greek yogurt works too)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, from about 3 large or 5 small
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin pan or line wells with with muffin papers. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sunflower seeds until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl stir together yogurt, milk, egg, and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. 
  4. Stir in shredded carrots until evenly distributed. 
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffins wells. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean and muffins are golden brown. 

 Adapted from Spiced Carrot Muffins.



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