Like Purmell and Weber’s Christmas Tree Farm (2006), this blends light fiction with nuts-and-bolts about an outdoorsy family business. Two children, Hannah and Hayden, appear perched on a horse-drawn sled headed for Grandpa’s “sugar bush,” where they join three generations of family members (and a bevy of onlooking forest creatures) in collecting, boiling, and bottling the season’s first batch of maple syrup. Apart from the characters’ L. L. Bean–like fashions and the trendy names of the featured kids, the family’s traditional syruping methods evoke a bygone era, as do Weber’s folk-art-style paintings, which are reminiscent of Will Moses’ quaint country scenes. The reliance on end matter to explain terminology, such as sheeting and hydrometer, seems odd, since readers unfamiliar with syruping will want this information up front. Still, the book’s interesting backstory about a product most children find more than a little appetizing will sweeten early-spring curricula. Given widespread “buy locally” campaigns, the small-farm emphasis will have appeal outside the classroom, too. Grades 1-4. --Jennifer Mattson
About the Author
Jill Weber is an illustrator and book designer. Her heartwarming illustrations have appeared in a wide range of books for children and adults. Kirkus Reviews raved that the "childlike feel" of her gouache illustrations for Ann Purmell's Maple Syrup Season
"suits the family-centered text perfectly." She lives on a farm in New Hampshire.
Ann Purmell has written several picture books for children. Before becoming an author she worked with children and teenagers as a psychiatric nurse for many years.