Here in southern New England, we will not see maple-sugaring season until the end of the winter, but Junior and I always look forward to it. We've latched onto the tradition as if we were members of the Ingalls family, always showing up for the sugaring demonstration at the nature center and discussing the logistics of one day tapping the (very skinny) maple trees in our yard.
I've also read aloud many books on the subject, and a cheerful new picture book makes a sweet addition to the list. Maple Syrup Season, written by Ann Purmell and illustrated by Jill Weber, takes young readers through the whole process. Using sugaring terms (and a glossary), the factual book depicts an extended (fictional) family's experiences:
Dad helps the uncles pour sap from the tree buckets into gathering buckets and then into a giant barrel on the sled.
Weber renders the winter scenes with whimsical, folk-art style illustrations, and in her pictures, even the family pets and animals in the woods get in on the action. Weber and Purmell also teamed up for 2006's Christmas Tree Farm.
For more recommendations, see also
"Maple Sugar Season," Chicken Spaghetti, 3/15/07
"Laura Ingalls Wilder Inspires Kitchen Mess," Chicken Spaghetti, 3/16/07.
Plus, the Chicago Tribune rated maple syrups today. How's that for serendipity?