Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter and Snow Books

Here are some book reviews of some of my favorite children's books about snow and winter. I am reviewing them in order of complexity and books for younger to older readers.

'Bear Snores On' is a board book that is written in a rhyming style that tells the simple story of a bear in his lair sleeping for the winter. Many of his friends come in and have a party there while he hibernates away. See what happens when he awakens. This is one that the little ones like to hear repeatedly. It is a short read and good for even very little listeners.

'The Snowy Day' is a simple story about a little boy exploring the natural world of snow. It is a simple book, and shows what winter is like in the city.

This story shows a big snow hitting a town and how they dig out. It is a story that 3 or 4 year olds will enjoy.

'Newf' is the story of a big Newfoundland dog that swims ashore an island up north during the winter. There is a little white kitten there that is starving and freezing. Newf and the kitten build a relationship and become friends. These animals are not personified. This is more of a nature story picture book.

'The Log Cabin Quilt' is about a pioneer family that live in a cabin. When winter happens they are freezing and the wind blows through the cracks of their walls. The father must go hunting to feed them. Find out how they come up with a unique way to keep warm. This is a good story in picture book format.

This is a read alone for a child who is comfortable with chapter books. This is a sequel to Robert Lawson's 'Rabbit Hill'. This is the story of how the animals play and thrive in the winter. There is animal personification. This is a fun story. (128 pgs larger print and many illustrations).

'Lost in the Barrows' is about some Eskimo boys who get lost in the Arctic and their struggle to survive and return to their people. If you like adventure stories, this is a good one. This book is written for about a 4th grader. There is about 150 pages and fewer illustrations than 'The Tough Winter'. This would be a good read aloud for younger children.

Lois Lenski is an excellent author. I have enjoyed and reread many of her stories even as an adult. 'Prairie School' tells the story of children growing up on the western prairies. The story tells about a year in their life, but one of the most exciting stories is about when the children are stuck in the school during a blizzard. The whole book is excellent, but a few chapters read on a snow day is also a lot of fun. This book is out of print and more difficult to get a hold of. Do not pass by an opportunity to read or buy a Lois Lenski Book.

I have read this book to my children several times during snowstorms. It is short (about 80 pages) but is not a chapter book. It is the 'true' story of a group of school children who are coming home on the school bus over the western plains and they get caught in the middle of no where in a blizzard. The teacher who is driving the bus has ~9 children of various ages. The oldest is a 16 year old boy and the youngest is a kindergartner. She has to take care of them and survive despite frostbite and illness and almost no food. It is a great story and everything ends well.

Stephen W. Meader is my favorite children's author. He writes 'boy' stories for readers fourth grade and up, and is a wonderful author. My favorite story of his is 'Trap-lines North'. It is the true story of two teenage boys who have to take on adult responsibilities when their dad is injured. They each run their own trap line in Northern Canada. They have many adventures and have to survive frigid temperatures and storms alone with only what they have in their backpack. The book does contain pictures of these stalwart young men. I have read this book at least 8 times. This is a keeper if you can get a hold of it. Stephen W. Meader books are out of print, but a company is reprinting them, unfortunately at a premium price. :-( If you can find any of his books at a reasonable price (less than $20), BUY THEM! You'll be glad you did.
I hope you found these reviews useful. I know this is not an exhaustive list, but I thought I'd share some I have enjoyed. What are your favorite winter stories?

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