Books, Nature, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Under the Snow

Illustrator: Constance R. Bergum
Publication Info: Peachtree Publishers, 2009
Intended audience: Ages 4 through 8
Genre: nonfiction, picture book
Themes/topics: science, nature, animals, hibernation
Opening and synopsis: ”In the heart of winter, a deep layer of snow blankets fields and forests, ponds and wetlands. You spend your days sledding and skating and having snowball fights. But under the snow lies a hidden world.”
Children spend the winter playing on the snow and ice, but do they know the world lying underneath? A wood frog sleeps in scattered leaves, frozen until the warm spring thaws him. A chipmunk naps and wakes to snack, then sleeps again. Newts swim below the ice, zipping through the frigid water.
Why I like this book: Two years before Kate Messner’s much-lauded, Over and Under the Snow, award-winning nonfiction author Melissa Stewart produced this lyrical look at the winter wonderland under the snow. This book provides a strong example of how simple language and beautiful images can make nonfiction accessible to all ages.
Resources: Melissa Stewart includes a complete Teacher’s Guide on her site. You can access it… She also has three activities for the book: comparing animal sizes, create a picture story and snow math, which you can find … here. Finally, she includes a “readers theater” guide for students who want to stage a dramatic reading of the book. New York State’s Conservationist for Kids has a wonderful guide to hibernation. BrainPop has an interactive overview of hibernation. You’ll need to enroll in the free trial.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

24 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Under the Snow”

  1. I love this book, Kirsten, and am so glad to have it on our list even though we are hopefully past snow for this year (although I just got an email from my daughter in Vermont and it’s snowing there right now!) This book is wonderful on so many levels. Thanks for adding it to our list!!!

  2. I saw this book at the library, and it is beautiful. I’m glad you shared it anyway because of the wildlife that are coming out of hibernation. You can still talk about the subject with the little ones. Nice review.

  3. I love that one of the activities is “reader’s theatre” — I bet that doesn’t surprise you! And for me, this is all too timely, as there could be rain mixed with SNOW here tomorrow. (The way my toes feel tonight, I think they are under the snow themselves. Brrrrr!)

    This sounds like a wonderful book, and I’m glad you didn’t wait until next winter to tell us about it, Kirsten!

  4. I have been trying to study some non-fiction pbs, as there is one that I have been thinking about writing, but have NO IDEA where to start. Sounds like this one would make an excellent part of my study! Thanks, Kirsten!

  5. Great book, Kirsten. I love the concept…so important for children to learn that all is not as it seems…the “dead” tree, the “empty” garden covered with snow…teeming with life, if we could only see beneath. 😉
    Lovely resources also!

    1. I was amazed at how many creatures remained active during the winter, and how many nearly died by freezing solid and coming back to life. The natural world is a wonder!

    1. Each is unique. I think it’s interesting how two similar books can exist in the marketplace. I’m sure Kate’s book was in production by the time Melissa’s came out since production times are so long.

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