My toddler story time group enjoyed stories about winter this week. When I planned this story time several weeks ago, I joked that it was sure to be 60 degrees on that day. Luckily, this was just after our first snow event of the season, so the timing was perfect! December 21 is the first day of winter, so if you're not in the mood for winter tales, you still have some time to read your favorite fall stories.
I adore Baby Bear Sees Blue (it was my Caldecott pick for 2013!), so it was inevitable that I love Baby Bear Counts One. Baby Bear counts the other animals preparing for winter while he and his mother prepare for hibernation. If you need a counting book that goes beyond picture spreads of numbers and objects, consider this one for a gorgeous read aloud.
Gail Gibbons's informational picture books are fantastic for K-3 students. In It's Snowing!, simple text (3-5 sentences per page) and illustrations in cheerful cartoon styles introduce children to the wonders of snow.
Kevin Henkes's picture books are magical. Old Bear is one that I use in both my winter and spring story times. When Old Bear settles down for hibernation, he dreams of being young again, and of the glorious colors and sights of fall, summer, and finally, spring. But....the cheery sights of spring are not a dream at the end of the book!
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons is another outstanding story that I use in my winter and spring-themed story times. When winter approaches, animals have different ways of coping with the change in weather; some hibernate, while others migrate, tunnel beneath the ground, or move slowly in water. This little rabbit mainly stays put, as his adaptation doesn't happen until the spring. Il Sung Na creates remarkable stories that pull readers in with vibrant illustrations and endearing stories; this is a charmer.
I'm winding down my 2013 reads. I'm hoping to post my favorite reads of 2013 after Christmas (perhaps not until January 3). Luckily, I still have plenty of time to post my picks for the Newbery and Caldecott (and other ALA youth media awards). Those awards won't be announced until January 27.
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library
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