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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'winter'.

I'm so glad Kevin Henkes has taken to writing about the seasons, and I hope he does all of them. Winter Is Here is a poetic exploration of the sights and feelings of winter -- from the way the snow covers the outside world to the many different articles of clothing that a child must put on before going out to play. Gentle text works well for young children, and the bright illustrations bring colors and definition even to descriptions of white snow and transparent ice.

Of course, the best part of this book is that it ends with spring!

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Kevin Henkes
Illustrator: Laura Dronzek
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Winter Bees is a wonderful picture book of Joyce Sidman's poetry, especially fitting for those who live in a cold climate like we do. Have you ever wondered where bees go in the winter? Or voles, or beavers? This book contains a double-page spread on each featured piece of nature (mostly animals), containing a poem and then a few paragraphs of information about how the animal gets through winter, which helps to fill out the information in the poem.

The poetry here is lovely, and full of clever descriptive phrases. Most poems are of moderate length, managing to communicate a clear picture of winter survival without becoming repetitive or overly wordy.

Bees are "an ancient tribe, a hardy scrum... Together, we boil, we teem, we hum."

Snoflakes are "a lattice of stars spinning silently..."

A raven is a "Squawker, Croaker, Alarm-on-the-wind."

The poem about beavers is written as a pantoum, a poetry form that I don't remember encountering before, featuring some neat repetition of lines.

The illustrations here are amazing -- colorful, full of texture and life. I especially love how a long picture of a branch is drawn as moving from autumn to winter at the beginning of the book, and then again at the end it is shown morphing from winter into spring. 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Rick Allen
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Like my previous "winter" post, 5 Picture Books for Winter, this sequel post focuses on some picture books that take place during wintertime -- featuring snow, chills, and even a large blizzard!


The title of Winter Is the Warmest Season, by Lauren Stringer, gave me pause when I first noticed it. Not being a huge winter fan myself, I decided I had to at least read it to see how this seeming contradiction could be true. Overall it's a nice exploration of all the ways in which winter becomes cozy and warm due to our efforts to counteract the chill. Full review here.


While Extra Yarn is not about winter per se, it takes place in a small village that is drawn in contrasting tones of black (soot) and white (snow). Annabelle's box of never-ending yarn helps to add lovely pastel-colored cheer to the otherwise dismal place. A charming story by Mac Barnett with beautiful illustrations by Jon Klassen -- full review here.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is one of my favorite Robert Frost poems, and one that I remember memorizing as a child. This book simply illustrates this classic poem, relating a man's decision to just stop and watch some woods "fill up with snow." Until he decides he must move on, because "I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep..." Illustrated by Susan Jeffers.


Snow is Cynthia Rylant's lyrical ode to snow in its many forms and uses, celebrating the way the world seems to slow down just a bit when those flakes start falling. It's illustrated by Lauren Stringer, who also wrote and illustrated Winter Is the Warmest Season, above. 


Blizzard is John Rocco's account of a giant blizzard he experienced as a boy growing up in Rhode Island. Forty inches of snow fell on his town, and after a few days of dwindling food supplies, John decided to find some snowshoes and make the journey to the store so his family could have milk in their cocoa again. This story does a good job of portraying a child's sense of adventure and curiosity during a new experience like this. Full review here.

Winter Is the Warmest Season: the title of this book caught me off guard because I live in one of the northernmost parts of the United States, the land where winter drags on and on -- and to be honest, it's not my favorite season, because I hate being cold. So I just had to read this and see what kind of case was being made for winter. 

While I still have to say summer is my favorite, I do appreciate this celebration of the ways in which winter is actually quite cozy -- it's when we wear fuzzy slippers and warm scarves, eat hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. There isn't really much narrative here, but it's a nice perspective, and evoked a sense of warmth, coziness, and joy even in this winter-wary reader.

(I thought the faces of these characters looked familiar -- then I realized this author/illustrator also illustrated Cynthia Rylant's Snow -- I guess she likes winter!)

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/illustrator: Lauren Stringer
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon


For New Englanders like us, winter means lots and lots of snow and cold temperatures. Fortunately, many fun and lovely picture books are set in this season, and here are some of my favorites (in no particular order).

The Mitten was my introduction to Jan Brett. I love all of her warm, detailed illustrations. In this story (which relies on a bit of imagination), a mitten is lost and one animal after another decides it would be a nice place to get warm -- even a large bear! We have this in board book form, and both kids enjoy it.


How could I not include The Snowy Day? This classic by Ezra Jack Keats won the Caldecott Medal in 1963, and continues to capture the joy of discovery in a landscape of newly fallen snow. As fun as Peter's explorations are, I can totally relate to the part where he sits in the tub afterwards and thinks about his adventures. Peter is a curious, thoughtful child, and I love how after his experiences on the first day, he decides to go out again -- this time sharing it with a friend.


Katy and the Big Snow is my favorite of Virginia Lee Burton's picture books. Not just because I live in a land of much snow and plow trucks become ubiquitous round about December, but also because it seems most books about big machinery and "hard work" tend to feature male characters, and so it's wonderful to see an exception. Katy just goes and goes... she has a no-nonsense "get it done" attitude and many New Englanders can relate to the need for that during the winter.


For a look at what animals do during the winter, Over and Under the Snow (by Kate Messner) features a parent and child skiing through the woods as the framing for introducing young readers to the "secret kingdom under the snow." See my full review here.


Shelter is a beautifully illustratred story of woodland animals preparing for a winter storm (originally written in French by Celine Claire). When strangers come through their neighborhood asking for shelter, will they receive compassion, or not? See my full review here.




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