From the Reading Library of the Explorers.
Earlier this winter, Jessica, our local librarian, visited the Explorer’s classroom. She always chooses fun, beautiful, interesting books that have a nature theme or are just off the presses.
Librarians are a great resource when looking for books to share with children. And nature-based books provide a wonderful way to introduce and connect children to nature.
These are the books Jessica read:
The book follows Grandmother Winter and her flock of snow-white geese through the seasons. In the spring and summer she collects the “storm of feathers” her geese shed. In autumn, “Grandmother sews on her quilt stitch by stitch, stuffing it full of feathers.” Then her namesake, Winter, arrives. “When the days burn down toward the longest night Grandmother shakes her feather quilt. Flake by flake the snow begins to fall.”
The book continues with descriptions of winter happening: “cardinals and chickadees fluff themselves up against the cold, snowshoe hares and weasels put on their coats of white, under leaves and in hallow logs mourning cloak butterflies sleep.”
Root’s lyrical story is accompanied by Beth Drommes’s beautiful scratchboard illustrations. The artwork is playful and magical while also staying true to the details of the natural world. The pages dance with giant snowflakes, while providing a home to earthworms, rabbits, birds, and fish. Grandmother Winter is a beautiful, smart, playful book that is worth reading.
In the Snow: Who’s Been Here? starts with a question. “‘Cammy, do you want to go sledding on the hill by the old school?’ William asks.” His sister, Cammy, says, “yes,” so they set off down an old trail and into the woods. While on their journey, they discover clues about the animals that had been there before them. “William and his sister look up into the branches of an old oak tree. They see a leafy nest. Who’s been here?” The answer: “A family of gray squirrels.”
This is a great book to read aloud. The clues, along with the repeated question “Who’s been here?” encourage participation.
The artwork, done by the author, works well with the text. On the clue pages, the illustrations are broad and show an overall setting. The answer pages depict the answer to the question “Who’s been here?” in dramatic close up drawings of a great horned owl, a family of gray squirrels, a mink, and more.