Friday, February 7, 2020

Seeking Signs of Spring

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring 
by Buffy Silverman
32 pages; ages 4-9
Millbrook Press, 2020

themes: changing seasons, spring, nonfiction, STEAM

On a drip-droppy, slip-sloppy, snow-melting day…

Opening this book is like stepping into a seasonal change. It begins with ice-encased twigs and salamanders on snow and ends with muddy splatters and buds growing.

What I like about this book: The language! It’s lyrical and fun to read. Lots of verbs: icicles drip; chickadees sip. I like the photos – they take us winter-bound readers out of our dreary gray day and into the woods where leaves and twigs cover the ground and snow only exists in patches. Where the sky is blue and grass is green beneath the melting snow. You can almost smell the mud!

And there is Back Matter! I am a big fan of back matter. Here, in the last pages, you can read more about the animals mentioned, the physical aspects of snow, mist, drifts, lake thaw… and where the snow goes when it melts. There is a brief glossary and some great titles for kids who want to find more fun books about spring emerging.

One Question for Buffy:

Archimedes: What inspired you to write about emerging spring? 

Buffy: The idea for Snow-Melting Day began as a response to a StoryStorm post in January, 2018 by Heidi Stemple. Heidi encouraged writers to pay attention to what is around them. It must have been a warm winter day for Michigan, because I wrote this sentence in my notebook:
It was a drip droppy
                slip sloppy
                snow melting day

And then I jotted down a few images: Mist rises in the air, boots sink in the slush, puddles grow on the lake, followed by some questions to myself: Is there a story here? Or just a poem? followed by more notes: dog wet from snout to tail (it really must have been a slushy day!) and writing on the snow (dog/deer tracks) turn to slippery sloppery.

Beyond the Books:

Pay attention to how the season is changing around you. Maybe you notice that there are more birds at the feeder, or different birds. Maybe the sky looks different than it did last month. What do you notice?

Take photos over the next six weeks and make a scrapbook showing how spring emerges where you live.

Make a map showing where snow melts first in your neighborhood, and where the first buds show.

Become a citizen scientist. Join Project Budburst to help scientists document when flowers bloom.

Buffy is a member of #STEAMTeam2020. You can find out more about her at her website.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I love the little story behind the story that Buffy shared about this book. Noticing the world around us can inspire so much. As she said of the marvelous words that came to her mind that spring day, "Is there a story here? Or just a poem?" Thank you also for your beyond the book ideas. I especially like the suggestions to photograph and scrapbook all the signs of spring.

  2. I love the activities you've suggested for going out to seek those signs of spring! Thanks so much for featuring On a Snow-Melting Day.

  3. Thanks for sharing the inspiration for this lyrical book. And the "Beyond the Book" activities you suggest are stellar!

  4. I just saw this book in a list of new titles at Kidlit Frenzy. It's on my TBR pile, now. Thanks for asking how this book came to be. It was interesting to hear how it began with StoryStorm 2018, and how quickly it arrived on the shelves.

  5. How I love hearing how story storm ideas become books. It's super encouraging, and the language here is delightful.

  6. This sounds lovely! Perfect for an inquiry-based kindergarten class!

  7. Another lyrical nonfiction PB today! I enjoyed the author's comments. What a fun way to turn "what you see" into a book. I love the cover and so will kids.

  8. This is a really beautifully photographed and written ode to the change from winter to spring. Glad you featured it!

  9. What a beautiful picture book. I can't wait to share it with my STEM Story Time kids. Enjoyed learning about how Buffy came up with the idea, too.