Children’s literature on maple syrup making is prolific, varied, and fun. We highly recommend these six titles for a maple syrup story hour for your youngest maple lovers.
Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter (copyright 2002) is a wonderful, true-to-life story about two elementary-school-aged brothers helping their mother and father make maple syrup on a modern homestead. The story is familiar, simple and warm, and the illustrations of sugaring are bright and clean. Especially wonderful are the inset depictions of what woodland wildlife is up to in sugaring season.
For the very youngest readers, there is Sugar White Snow and Evergreens by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky (copyright 2014), a tour-by-color of an old fashioned farm during sugaring season illustrated with modern, playful art.
Everyone will love At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney and Janet Wilson (copyright 1997), a darling story about a modern backyard maple-syrup making operation run by a young boy and his grandfather. Beautiful, impressionistic pictures illustrate this sweetest-of-stories, wherein the grandfather teaches the grandson how to sugar, but also how to pause and appreciate the signs of spring. The country grandchild and grandparent alike will recognize themselves in this book.
The Big Tree by Bruce Hiscock (copyright 1991) is a great one for the budding (pun intended) history buff! This is the story of the life of one special maple tree that is “born” before the American Revolutionary War and reaches maturity in the present day. The illustrations are charming and informative and help the book teach gently about the many uses of a maple tree, important historical events and basic tree biology. A great read.
The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London (copyright 1995) brings us to Quebec, the maple capital of the world! Sprinkled with fun, French phrases (“mon petit chou” is “my little cabbage,” a term of endearment), this is a story of an extended Quebecois family sugaring together in the old days as told by a grandmother to a grandson on the eve of a modern “sugaring-off” party. The wood-block style illustrations are stunningly beautiful and, appropriately, lend a living technicolor to a story about old, but living, traditions.
Finally, our favorite of this collection is Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall (copyright 2000), which depicts a multigenerational country family making syrup on the family farm. The story is timeless—it’s hard to tell whether it takes place in the 1950s or 1990s—but also modern in that its protagonist is a little girl. The illustrations, in a familiar style, capture beautifully the dynamics of this family, as well as the true-to-life, tireless (take it from us) participation of Rosie the Springer Spaniel.