Friday, November 3, 2017

Books that Celebrate the Changing Season

Up here in the northern hemisphere, winter is on its way ~ in some places sooner, in other places later. Here are two wonderful books that celebrate the changing seasons.

themes: nature, seasons, animals

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter
by Kenard Pak
32 pages; ages 3-6
Henry Holt BYR, 2017

Hello, late autumn afternoon. Hello, leaves.

Two children walk through field and farm and town, as the season changes from fall to winter. They greet animals, trees, and birds as they pass. Cardinals and robins reply that they are ready to fly south. Clouds cover the sky; icicles reply that their job is to decorate the eaves of houses.

What I like about this book: it is a quiet, gentle passage from one season to the next. We see the children walking through different neighborhoods: a hillside, a rural road, the city street. Everywhere they go, they observe how the season is changing, and how the animals and plants are adapting to the coming cold. I admit to saying hello to woolly bears I come across while raking leaves - but unlike the tree frogs, my woolly bears don't seem to say much. Or if they are, I am not attuned to hearing their language.

I like that the children are observing nature in the town and in a city. This reinforces that nature is everywhere, not something "out there". And I like Ken's artwork. It is full of texture and you can "see" the leaves blowing across the page.
Winter Dance
by Marion Dane Bauer; illus. by Richard Jones
40 pages; ages 4-7
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

(A snowflake spins through the air and lands on the nose of a fox.) "Winter is coming," says the fox. "What should I do?"

So fox sets off to find out what other animals do to survive winter. Birds fly south (I can't do that, says fox); turtles dive to the bottom of a pond and dig into the mud.  (Definitely Not For Fox!).

What I like about this book: It's a fun quest, because who doesn't want to know what other people/animals do when snow is on its way. I like seeing the world through the point of view of a fox. And I like the idea of foxes dancing to celebrate winter.

Note from the bug girl (me): As fun as this book is, curious young naturalists will want to further investigate behavior of "woolly caterpillars" they come across. In our area, the woolly caterpillars people see most are "Woolly Bears", larvae of the Isabella moth. Woolly bear caterpillars find a cozy place under leaves or hay mulch where they curl up and hibernate until spring. You can read more about them here and at Naturally Curious. White "woolly" caterpillars (tussock moths) overwinter in the egg stage.

Beyond the Book:

Go on a walk to bid goodbye to fall. What signs of the changing season do you observe? Smell? Feel? Look up - what does the sky look like? Are there lots of leaves? Look down; what does the ground look like? Jot down notes in your field notebook, or draw pictures, or take photos.

In a month, go on another walk along the same route as before. What has changed? Look up - what does the sky look like? Are there lots of leaves? Look down; what does the ground look like? Jot down notes in your field notebook, or draw pictures, or take photos.

Make up a dance to welcome winter. Maybe you want to jump and turn like a fox, leap like a deer, or strut like a turkey. How do the animals in your neighborhood move in winter?

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup - and we're also joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review ARCs and copies from the publisher.

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