Monday, January 10, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Under the Snow

Under the Snow
By Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Constance R Bergum
32 pages, for ages 4-8
Peachtree Publishers 2009

Winter seems like a quiet time. Except for the birds at the feeder – and the squirrels crouched below, waiting for the cascade of rejected millet as the chickadees pick through for sunflower seeds – there’s little activity outside.

But there’s a lot going on under the snow, and Melissa Stewart takes us on a wintry field trip in her lovely book, Under the Snow. This book offers a lyrical tour of habitats and the animals that live there in the winter. You’ll meet ladybugs snuggled into a crevice in a stone wall and a meadow vole that nibbles bark off a tree trunk for mid-winter snacks. In my garden the voles simply tunnel under the mulch and snack on the rutabagas I forgot to harvest…

Stewart, along with Bergum’s wonderful watercolors, introduce us to the secret world of insects sleeping beneath the snow, the wood frog beneath leaves, a woodchuck snug in his burrow. They also show us the slow-moving bluegills and carp in the pond, under the ice.

My favorite spread is red-spotted newts dodging and darting just below the ice. Now I want to go down to the neighbor’s pond and clear off the ice to see whether the newts are swimming there. As soon as it stops snowing, of course.

“Many authors have written books about hibernation,” Stewart writes on her website. “But I wanted children to know that many animals stay active all winter long – even under the snow.” You can read more about how she wrote the book at her blog.

This post is part of the Nonfiction Monday Round-Up hosted this week by Tales from the Rushmore Kid.


  1. Welcome to Nonfiction Monday.

    You might be interested that the book I reviewed today at Wrapped In Foil (Spilled Ink) is by two Ithaca authors.

    Wish I still lived in Ithaca so we could attend the reading. Looks like a great book.

  2. Hi, Sue. Welcome to the kidlitosphere! I'm fairly new myself and have found it a very friendly, educational, and entertaining place. This book sounds really great. My 6-year-old daughter is always talking about migration, but I bet she would love learning what so many other animals do in the winter. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm looking forward to following your blog. My 6 year old son loves to check out non-fiction science books. In fact, he chose this very book. I found it pretty interesting, myself. One thing about have a curious kid is that, as the parent, you get to do a lot of learning, too.