Today I’m looking at another fabulous book that is yet to be translated: Alle vier Jahreszeiten (My Four Seasons) by Katrin Wielhe (Beltz &Gelberg).
Emma: I like the tulips and I like the pumpkins and I the grapes and the conkers. I like the dragon. There’s loads to look at. My favourite picture is winter because there’s a cat ice-skating. (The German for kite is Drachen which also means dragon. The kids thought this was funny, hence Emma’s comment here about the dragon).
Dominic: I like the pictures because they are very detailed. It’s a useful book because it tells you German words. It tells you lots of interesting things like flowers. The pictures tell you what the word means if you don’t know.
I found this on a friend’s bookcase and was immediately drawn to it. It is a beautiful large-scale board book for young children. Each double spread depicts a glorious scene set in a particular season, with individual words picked out on the page. Spring, for example, has a title reading “Im Frühling wird es draussen grün” (In Spring, everything outside turns green) and picks out words like Easter basket, watering can, bicycle, dandelion. Turn over the page and we find drawings of 9 different spring flowers and their names, we see the life cycle of a daffodil bulb being planted, following its growth through to flowering and there are illustrations of animals with their young, the names included underneath. And so it continues throughout the whole year.
I’m sure many of you have heard of the idea of the “lost words”, those words that were removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary for “not being used enough to merit their place the dictionary”*. These words included acorn, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow – words relating to nature. This book introduces many of these words to a young audience.
The other aspect of this board book is that it refers to itself as “100% Naturbuch” (100% Natural Book). It is printed on 100% recycled paper using eco-friendly inks. What a great book to publish in the current climate.