Martin and Sylvia can find fun and adventure just about anywhere they go! When the brother and sister don their explorers' hats, the whole back yard becomes a new land waiting to be discovered. The spring brook becomes a rain-forest river! The apple trees become hot air balloons! The neighborhood library is a wizard's castle! These stories delight in the children's adventures at home and beyond.
About the Stories
This is a collection of 13 spring stories, for the 13 weeks of spring.
One day in early spring, Momma tells brother and sister about an incredible event that happens every year: the migration of so many salamanders from the forests to the woodland vernal pools. When she explains that dozens of people gather every year to help the salamanders crossroads, Martin and Sylvia jump at the chance to see the salamanders for themselves. And oh, what an adventure!
A Hat for That
Ellie is Martin and Sylvia's new babysitter and she is always filled with such wonderful ideas! When the children decide to play Explorers and they hand Ellie an Explorer's hat, Ellie wonders: "Could there be a hat for everything we do?" This begins a delightful study into what kinds of hats could be used for just about everything - even naps!
The Dog Park
Once a week Martin and Sylvia's family takes care of the neighbor's active dog, Rufus. One morning, Daddy suggests they take him to the new dog park in town. When Martin hears Daddy's description of the dog park, he suggests they take their old dog Billbill as well. Sylvia is nervous about this at first, but she soon sees her old dog find new friends!
The annual Spring Fling celebration in Martin and Sylvia's downtown is approaching — and brother and sister are delighted! They look forward to the silly parade, the toy duck races, the artists and musicians — and especially Miss Claire's hot buttered biscuits and fresh maple cream. Everything changes, however, when first Martin and then Sylvia come down with a fever. Will they miss the festival completely? Momma and Daddy have a plan...
The Rainbow Table
After Sylvia enjoys a picture book about a feast shared by all the colors of the rainbow, she enthusiastically suggests that they hold a Rainbow Table potluck! Each of the guests is to bring a dish that is one of the colors of the rainbow. She worries that, as it is early spring, many of the guests will bring Green — but she is in for a surprise!
Smelling Your Way
When Martin and Sylvia join in the annual Spring Cleaning, they notice a trail of tiny little ants leading to the honey jar. They wonder how the ants found the jar and Momma explains that ants use their sense of smell to find food and to recognize each other. This inspires some scent guessing games and then a grand hunt for treats using nothing but their noses!
Sylvia gets an accidental lesson on welcoming people visiting from other countries when she receives a gift from her grandmother: a stuffed wombat named Dozer! She is kind and gentle with Dozer and introduces him warmly to her other stuffed animals. Momma helps her to realize that the kindness she shows Dozer could be the very same kindness she could share with the new boy from Mexico, helping him to feel welcome too!
Spies and Double Agents
When Martin and his friend Julian decide to play spies together, Sylvia feels left out. She goes to Momma for help, and Momma teaches her how to become a double agent who spies — on the spies!
Martin and Sylvia wake one morning to a surprise: they were going to experience their first "green up" day. When they learn that green up day means cleaning up trash from roadsides, they are not so interested. But when they find out that it also involves wearing reflective vests, their imaginations begin to spin...
Pay it Forward
One morning, everyone is surprised to see Mr. Brown's son arrive ready to mow the lawn for them. He says that he wanted to do something nice for them because they did something nice for the Browns. Brother and sister are curious about this and Daddy explains that sometimes instead of paying someone back for a kindness, they pay it forward to someone else. Then Martin and Sylvia think of things they can do to "pay it forward."
When Martin finishes knitting a winter hat, he decides he wants to knit lots of hats and will need a lot of wool yarn. In fact, he thinks they should get a sheep! Momma explains that they don't have the yard to care for a sheep but brother and sister start scheming that maybe their neighbors, the Browns, might want to get a sheep...
Names of Green
When Daddy's colleague from Arizona comes to stay with them, he is dazzled by all the different colors of green in the New England landscape. This gets brother and sister interested in finding names for all the greens they see. They take their list of 24 greens to the library and inspire their favorite librarian to start a whole new project, and Martin and Sylvia get to help!
Strawberry Slushy Siesta
It is strawberry-picking season where Martin and Sylvia live, and this time of year is filled with tradition and special treats. Martin starts to feel competitive about the amount they are going to pick this year, but the high temperatures give him and his family an unexpected gift — a rest!