Thursday, February 10, 2011

Science: Picture Books to Teach about Animals and Hibernation

In my research for books about snow day experiences, I came across Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart. This book does not fit my previous topic, but it is perfect for another related one:  hibernation.  After some research on this new topic, I have some great finds to accompany formal or informal instruction.  Here is a list of some picture books to include in your study of animals and/or hibernation.

Hibernation (ages 5-10) by Anita Ganeri  (non-fiction) 
Hibernation offers stunning hibernating photographs of various animals—dormouse, woodchuck, bats, snakes, toadfish, turtle, and more.  Beginning with a definition, hibernation is discussed as a pattern or cycle.  The lives and habits of animals preparing for, experiencing, and coming out of hibernation are covered in an easy narrative text.  General facts are presented as well as specific ones about unique animals.  Key words are bolded and highlighted, such as burrow, energy, nurse, pattern, and temperature.  Hibernation is an excellent resource for instruction. 

Under the Snow (ages 5-10) by Melissa Stewart (realistic fiction)  
On a snowy afternoon, a young family trudges through the snow, ready to sled and to skate.  As they are enjoying their winter wonderland, the lives of hibernating animals are revealed.  The crevice of an old stone wall offers a place for ladybugs to huddle together and a snake to curl up to sleep.  Near the wall, a vole digs tunnels through the snow and under the ground nearby a chipmunk is seen snoozing in his burrow of leaves and grass.    As they move into the forest, other hideouts are illuminated—a butterfly in a pile of brush, some insects in a rotting log, and a frog in a pile of leaves.   Underground, a spotted salamander and a woodchuck wait out the cold months.  Finally, animals in and around the pond are seen hibernating or resting, like bluegills, carp, a frog, and a turtle.   Time’s passage is illustrated as spring returns.  Hibernating animals begin to emerge.  Beautiful text and vivid illustrations make Under the Snow essential to any study of hibernation.

Other Worthy Titles:
Every Autumn Comes the Bear (ages 3-7) by Jim Arnosky (realistic fiction) 
A bear returns to the same place each year.  As he makes his way to his den, he observes other animals preparing for the winter weather.

Bedtime for Bear (ages 3-8) by Brett Helquist (fantasy fiction)   As Bear settles down for his long winter’s nap, his two raccoon friends goad him outdoors to play in the snow.  Bear experiences a day of fun in the snow before finally going to sleep for the winter. 

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