Those who get to enter the treasury can delight in the wonder and glow of the surprises one sees there. The recently revised edition of Betty Jones’ book, A Child’s Seasonal Treasury, lives up to that definition. Originally published in 1997, this volume was designated as a “Notable Book for Children” by the Smithsonian Institution at that time. The original collection of verses, poems, songs, finger games, recipes, and crafts to carry us through the seasonal year has been expanded with original material by Betty. The shifting colors, moods, weather, foods, and activities that mark the difference and flow from one season to another are well represented here. The book opens with general “Year Round” imaginations, songs, artistic and craft activities, and recipes that fit into any time of the year. In this first section a personal favorite is Betty’s description of “All Year Round Movement and Creative Drama.” She has concisely summarized how and why playful and creative movement is so important for children. This helpful statement is clear and accessible, a great resource for teachers to share with parents.
Then each season is featured in its own right. Each section is filled with poems, verses, and songs. Some will be familiar to Waldorf early childhood educators from other collections. This new edition distinguishes itself by also having the rich addition of many original verses by Betty herself. Some are lyrical and pictorial word pictures of the seasonal moods. Some give imaginative journeys through the natural world in its changing colors, textures, sounds, and tones. Others are playful and make the reader and listeners want to giggle and dance. “Reader and listeners” is stated deliberately because all of these are for reading aloud so the listener can savor the sounds and create the imaginative pictures the words suggest. As I read through the longer poems, I could see these as bed time readings, reviewing the experiences at close of the day. With this Treasury we can draw our children to attentive listening. Children are turning off to what they hear because so much is not worth listening to. This book provides a healthy antidote to this cultural problem.
Within each section are suggestions for seasonal activities and recipes. Crafts and cooking to enrich festival celebrations are featured with each season. These are activities that families can do at home with simplicity and success. In so many ways this book will serve as a bridge between Waldorf classroom and home life. It can serve as a resource and cultural introduction to families new to Waldorf education who want to bring festival rhythms and richness into their homes.
Yet the most impressive and precious aspect of this book has been saved to last to mention. This edition is completely illustrated with Betty Jones’ original art work, prominently water color paintings. These are visually stunning! For adult eyes to rest on these beautiful pictures is refreshing and calming to the senses. For little children to see such beauty is balm for their souls. Here is a visual reminder of the care and beauty children remember from the spiritual world. Their eyes have something worthy to look upon with this book. These pictures alone would justify adding this book to one’s personal library.
WECAN carries few books produced by other publishers. So it is a joy to be able to offer Betty Jones’ A Seasonal Treasury through our book sales. Teachers will find verses that are old friends and also new compositions by Betty to extend the richness of the kindergarten. Parents will find it a new best friend as it can guide and companion them into new possibilities for their families. Thanks to Betty for providing this seasonal feast for our senses.
— Nancy Blanning, WECAN