Monday, March 15, 2010

Waiting for Winter

Meschenmoser, Sebastian. 2009. WAITING FOR WINTER. Tulsa, OK: Kane/Miller. ISBN 9781935279044 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]

Squirrel is waiting for winter. He knows that it will be accompanied by snow – something white, wet, cold, and soft. Squirrel doesn’t want to miss this arrival; he does anything he can to stay awake and to break the boredom of waiting. His shenanigans wake Hedgehog, who also becomes interested in seeing winter come and in discovering this thing called “snow.” Bear, too, is awakened and joins the search for the very first snowflake. Youngsters will laugh as they see the animal trio mistake other items for snow (toothbrushes are white and wet and cold) before finally discovering the real thing!

At first glance, the illustrations seem to set the tone for a soft, airy, romantic story. By page five, however, the humorous facial expressions and squirrel’s raggedy appearance convey to the reader that fun is in store. Likewise, the large font provides just the right contrast to the color-sparse sketches, and facilitates a fun read-aloud. When real snow finally arrives, the double-page spreads become wordless and more colorful, allowing the reader to watch silently as the three forest friends frolic and finally hibernate in a winter wonderland.

A lesson about classifying objects stems easily from this story. Present children with a list or pictures of inanimate objects that share common traits. Classify the objects by color, temperature, and texture. Children might think of other objects that the animals could have mistaken for snow, sparking an idea for their own illustration of things “snowing” down to earth.

These books also feature animals waiting for seasons:
Fleming, Denise. TIME TO SLEEP. ISBN 9780805037623
Henkes, Kevin. OLD BEAR. ISBN 9780061552052
Wilson, Karma. BEAR SNORES ON. ISBN 9781599614878

By Rebecca S. McKee

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