Good, Better, Best: Spring Books

It's taken a couple of months, but finally here's the Spring edition of Good, Better, Best to finish out the series! (If you'd like to see the other ones, here are the links: Summer, Fall, and Winter). 


Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
This is a lovely British children's book from the 1950s, which I've been reading since I was very small. It's about two sisters who end up going to live at a dancing school run by their (absolute dragon of a) aunt. And Rachel is such a protective older sister, and I love her, but I also love her arc of having to realize that she's not 100% responsible for Hilary (who is the funnest! she's such a goofball, and I love her). Also, all of the dancing stuff is so fun, even though I don't actually dance. Since spring (and also June...) where I live often is just a lot of rain, so this book is one I think of a spring book not in spite of, but because of the huge amounts of rain. XD

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
As the title's about The Penderwicks, in spring. Surprise! XD This is one of my favorites of the Penderwicks books! It has a really honest exploration of family secrets and depression and grief, specifically as they affect kids. But in a very fictional and non-preachy manner! Because of this, my siblings think the book is totally depressing, but I really enjoy it. Even though it almost makes me cry, every time.

The Green Ember by S. D. Smith
Rabbits with swords! This series is one we've really enjoyed as a family. It feels kind of like the new/younger version of LOTR, crossed with Narnia, and I love it. It's such an excellent story of the epic fight of good against evil, and the importance of family and loyalty. And even though the main characters are literally rabbits, the ships are some of my very favorite ships. There are a few strange things, like paws being referred to as "hands" and rabbits being referred to as "people" occasionally, but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment.

Rachel & Leah by Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card is awesome, and let no one say differently. This book is the third in his series of Biblical fiction about women of the Old Testament, and it's phenomenal, as are the first two in the series! (This is just the one that seems most spring-y to me.) Orson Scott Card just knows how people's brains work, and so all of his characters are so realistic, and act so perfectly in character. And even though he's Mormon, he approaches the Biblical stories in a way that I very much approve of. :) My one quibble with this book is that it ends basically right after the wedding? And there's supposed to be two sequels, but he hasn't published them yet?? Come on, dude.

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
I have loved this book for many probably helps that I had a beautiful illustrated classic version that I enjoyed poring over for hours...including full page spreads of the garden in spring, with flowers everywhere. So is it any wonder I think of it as a spring book? It just has this beautiful spring-y feeling to it, both with the garden, and with the awakening of the children. 

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
This may be my least favorite of the Anne books (don't kill me! I like it, the other ones are just better) but I can't deny that the descriptions are fantastic! I have a very vivid mental picture of Green Gables in spring, and Hester I-can't-remember-her-last-name's garden in spring, and Violet Vale in spring...the list goes on. Plus, Anne herself brings spring into the lives of Marilla and Matthew, and...<3


The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
This is perhaps my favorite L. M. Montgomery, because Valancy is the BEST and Barney is the BESTEST and their relationship is absolutely adorable <3 <3 <3. But also, there is so much description of nature, both by Valancy and the author of her favorite books on nature. And I love it.

The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
You thought I could do a Spring GBB without mentioning Lewis? *muffled chuckle* The Magician's Nephew isn't my favorite of the Narnian books (that honor goes to either The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Horse and His Boy, I haven't quite decided), but it is definitely the most spring-feeling of all the books, with the dawn of a new creation, and the newness of life in Narnia. Spring is for beginnings, and beginnings always feel like spring.

Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt
I believe I've admitted that this one made me weep. Copiously. During the first three-ish pages. I scared my family. Like, a lot. And I kind of want to murder Gary D. Schmidt. But also, I love it. I love Meryl Lee, and I love GDS's habit of making one or two "things" in the book thematic, even though they don't seem like they should be. Like hockey. And even though a lot of this book happens in winter (although some of it happens in spring) it seems like a spring book to me because of all of the awakening and transformation that takes place in the characters.

Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones
I think this book is so cool not only because I love DWJ (and because MWT loves DWJ and there's an end-of-life connection, but that's another story), but ALSO because. Guys. She left this one unfinished at the time of her death. And her sister was tasked, by the rest of the family, with finishing it. And if you've read any DWJ, you'll know that there are always clues about where the story is going to go, but you never see them ahead of time. And DWJ didn't leave any notes. So her sister mulled it over for MONTHS and read over the manuscript for MONTHS and FINALLY found one of the clues, and FINISHED THE BOOK, and you can't even tell where the divide is. It's amazing. I've read it multiple times and never figured out where the join is. And I love it. Anyhow, independent of that, it's a fantastic found-family-ish romp through a fantabulous fictional universe, with lots of lovable and ridiculous characters. And I always think of this one island they visit that's all green and misty, and it makes me think of spring. So.

Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
Yes, there is a lot of L. M. Montogomery on this list. She just does such a great job of evoking a spring-y mood! I love how much Emily delights in the nature that surrounds her (her "flash" always reminds of me of C. S. Lewis's "joy"), and how well she ends up describing it. And also, she's a lovely MC, and might be my favorite MC of all of LMM's works. Although I do love Valancy.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer
This was the first Heyer I ever read, and a wonderful introduction to the style. It's a delightful Regency-period romp, with cousins and crusty men who have soft spots for talkative boys, and innocently scheming women, and Baluchistan hounds (I probably spelled that wrong...), and ridiculous adventures. It's hilarious, and you will laugh out loud, guaranteed. Because of the humor and the adventures and the blossoming feels like a spring book to me. 


Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is again one of those books that reminds me of spring because of the rain. That scene where Lizzie takes a walk and gets mud all over her dress? That's me in our chicken yard. Every day, guys. Every day. (Except, not with my dress, because I wear pants and boots, having become wise to the wiles of the animals.) Anyway. Mud aside, this is one of those books that I expect all of you have read, but if you haven' must. And you must do it immediately. And if you are skeptical, you must listen to it on audio. Because it is amazing.

Lizzie & Jane by Katherine Reay
This one is technically themed around Pride & Prejudice...there are certain subtle and not so subtle references to P&P, and it's fun trying to spot them. However, much as I love P&P, I am not here (or I am not just here, I suppose) for the P&P references. I'm here for the sisters. And the cooking. And the angst, and the slight bit of romance, and the Seattle setting, and the relationships, above all. Guys, I love this book so much, and it's primarily because of the relationships. (And a little bit because it's set in Seattle, which is a place I love. But primarily the relationships.)

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I know this is the second book in the series. And no, I'm not sorry. THIS BOOK GUYS. It  juuuust 
might be my favorite one in the series. (Except, also King of Attolia. And Return of the Thief.) I just...I love everything about it. And I've read it so many times, but every. single. time. I get surprised by something. And just...the relationships. The cousin relationship. The other relationship (if you've read it, you know what I mean). And the lovely I & H friendship that starts in this one. AND GEN BEING RIDICULOUS ALL THE TIME. As usual. I love him so much. I have so many books on my reading list, but...I may need to reread this whole series. 

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
I raved about this one HERE, but I will never stop talking about how amazing this book is. Because it's just...amazing. It's a bit like popular fiction...but for people who know about philosophy and religion and ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE WOVEN IN, and it's AMAZING. And awakening. Spring. All the things.

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
I just read this one for the first time and I loved it! There's so much description of beautiful spring stuff, which is why it's in here (obviously), but it's in "Best"'s amazing. The sibling relationships! And the romances! And the way it switches between time periods in such a seamless way! It's fantastic! And the humor. There's a whole lot of humor.

All Creatures Great And Small by James Herriot
There are a lot of books that were "my childhood", and this was one of them. I read this book so often when I was a kid! And there's just so much that screams "spring"...from the descriptions of Yorkshire, to all the lambings James is called to! I know that not everyone loves all of the very vivid descriptions of a veterinary practice, but I do. In fact, this is one of the books that really fed into my hope to work with animals when I grow up (hah! when I grow up. I'm seventeen, and I work with I grown up yet?) I also love all the characters--Tristan and Siegfried especially are just hilarious. And the English/Yorkshire feel is spot on! If I ever go to England, I definitely want to visit Yorkshire.

Have you read any of these? What is spring weather like where you live? What are some of your favorite spring books, and why do they make you think of spring?


  1. The Sherwood Ring is one of those books that I kept trying to make everyone I knew read so in a slightly self-absorbed way I laugh as if I converted another person. Which obviously I didn't because you found and read it long before I recommended it at one point, but it's one of those books I haven't seen talked about much so it was exciting for me that you read it.
    My one criticism is that I really wanted the traveling salesman that was with Richard when he noticed the tartan on the tree to be Peaceable. It wouldn't have worked considering how the following scene played out but I still wanted it. Peaceable in disguise just trolling Richard in that moment just seems like such a Peaceable move.

    It's been so long since I read it but I think I remember preferring Emily of New Moon over Anne of Green Gables at the time. Not that I don't like Anne of Green Gables, although I never could read much past the first book. I hands down agree with The Blue Castle being her best book (from the couple that I've actually read anyway). It would be hard to top it though.

    1. It's a really good book, though! I get the haha-I-converted-you feeling. :) (Even if you didn't actually convert me. XD) (Side note: I found out about it from Sarah Seele--do you follow her blog? She talks about a lot of books that don't get talked about much. :))
      Oh my word, that would have been hilarious! I kind of want that now, even if it wouldn't actually work.

      Yeah, same! I love Anne, but I love Emily more. It would definitely be hard to top TBC!

    2. Right!

      I don't think so actually. It sounds interesting though, what's her blog url?

    3. Her url is

  2. MISS PRIM. I need to reread that book. My copy is currently lent out to a friend, however. *weepy face*

    And The Blue Castle! And Anne! And I need to read the Emily books! But not right now. Right now I have a gajillion things on my TBR and work and a school project so Emily can wait. And I'm afraid Queen of Attolia will have to wait, too, but DARN IT SAM I WANT TO READ IT. *sobs*

    The Magician's Nephew really IS springy! Michael Ward would say that's because it's Venus' book, and Venus is all about new life. :D

    It's been a long time since I read The Secret Garden, but yes. Very much a spring book.

    1. YES! I feel like I need to reread it, even though I just read it! (Unfortunately, my TBR is guilting me into reading new books rather than rereading old ones. *matching weepy face*)

      I know the feeling! Why must our TBRs and school projects keep us from happiness so assiduously? XD (I do hope your project goes well, though. :)) I'm so excited for you to read QOA as soon as your schedule allows!!!

      Ah, that makes a lot of sense!

      With a title like "The Secret Garden"...could it possibly NOT be a spring book?

  3. The Blue Castle is so good! And I will never get over that her sister finished Islands of Chaldea loved that one. I've been meaning to re-read The Secret Garden. That was a childhood favorite.

    The Sherwood Ring is hilarious. Elizabeth recommended that one to me and I fell completely in love with it.

    1. It is! I know, that is SO COOL! I reread TSG last fall, and would recommend. :)

      It's fantastic! I really enjoyed it, and I think it should be more widely known in the blogosphere!

  4. Wonderful collection here! I've read so many of these <3 And my kids are reading The Green Ember right now for our homeschool co-op lit class!!!

    1. Thank you! Oh, that's so cool! Are they enjoying it?

  5. The Sherwood Ring sounds so familiar....but I can't place anything about it, and I'm pretty sure I haven't read it.

    Emily of New Moon was honestly my favorite of all the LMM books as well!

    1. It gets talked about around the blogosphere on occasion...but not many people have read it! I would highly recommend it, if you have time. :)

      It's such a great one!

  6. Ah, I love the Lewis, Austen, and Montgomery here!

    Okay, so I'd heard of Dancing Shoes and other books in that series from the movie You've Got Mail but...I didn't think they were actually real. XD Now I need to check them out!

    Rachel and Leah sounds EPIC!! I want it now! But maybe I should wait until the other books come out...

    This is so weird to have GBB done with all the seasons. What are you going to do next?

    1. It's so good!!

      Wait, you didn't think they were real? XD No, I assure you, they are quite real. But I didn't realize they were in You've Got Mail! I may need to find a copy of that to watch, now...

      It's AMAZING! But I've been waiting for the sequel(s) for YEARS, and I'm not sure he's ever going to do them. *sigh*

      I know, it's kind of crazy! I'm not exactly sure...although Sarah Seele did request a Georgette Heyer GBB, so I may do that, once I finish the Heyer on my reading list...


Post a Comment

Hi! I'm so glad you are here and taking the time to comment. I love all comments, even ones on old posts! I just ask that you are respectful and keep the comments section clean. Thank you!