A young boy and his animal friends awaken from a long winter’s nap and prepare to welcome a special guest.
William looks out the window of his forest cabin to a dawning, blooming world. Calling to the hibernating animals who share his bed, he says, “Wake up! It’s spring! / Today’s the day— / a special guest is on the way.” Only Chipmunk answers the call initially, and the two bake together until they realize the job is too big for just them. William returns to the bed, calling the other animals one by one to come assist in the cleaning and decorating. When “special guest” Bluebird finally arrives—and after sluggard Raccoon agrees to help Bluebird build its nest—they finally sit down to a spring picnic. The animals wake in a similar order to how they settled in during Ashman and Groenink’s previous book, William’s Winter Nap (2017). And as with that title, the countdown and the rhyming text with a repeating chorus make this an ideal read-aloud for young listeners. The mostly mono- and bisyllabic vocabulary lends a simple elegance to the tale. Earth tones keep the pencil-and-Photoshop illustrations warm and cozy, and additional feelings of familiarity arise from the drafting style, which is reminiscent of mid-20th-century illustration. Prominent pencil marks are grainy and natural, complementing the woodsy story setting. William has pale skin and straight, black hair.
A classic-feeling, homey celebration of spring’s beginning. (Picture book. 2-5)