Snow-that beautiful conglomeration of crystals that we catch on our tongues, shovel off our driveways, shape into snow people, and slide down on sleds, skis, and snowboards! While adults seem to have a love/hate relationship with these unique formations, children wholeheartedly embrace them. Discover the fun and the science of snow season with these books.

Contributor: Emily Griffin & Peg Glisson


Cold Snap
Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Eileen Spinelli's COLD SNAP enjoys gentle winter drawings by Marjorie Priceman and tells of a snowy cold winter in the town of Toby Mills. It's a wintertime cold snap, and as each day gets colder, fun pictures accompany insights on how the town adjusts as they wait for the cold snap to lift. A lovely story of wintertime weather challenges evolves. 2012, Random House/Knopf, Ages 4 to 8, $17.99. Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Children's Bookwatch, December 2012).
ISBN: 9780375857003

Exploring Winter
Terri DeGezelle

Eight short chapters describe the essential characteristics of winter. Winter days are the shortest and coldest of the year. The first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is December 21 or 22. The seasons change due to the tilt of the earth as it travels around the sun. Winter begins when Earth's axis points most directly away from the sun. Daylight is shortest in winter and temperatures are cold. Some places get snow. Lakes and ponds freeze over. Heavy snow and high winds can cause blizzards. Pine and spruce trees stay green throughout the year, but other trees lose their leaves and are dormant. Animals cannot find as much food as during other seasons. People wear heavy coats, hats, and boots. People in New York celebrate New Year's Day with ice skating, while people in Australia spend the day at the beach. The full-page photographs facing each page of text are exceptional. The vivid colors and detailed images in these pictures are outstanding. Includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. A good introduction to the winter season for young children. Part of the "Exploring the Seasons" series. 2012, Pebble Plus/Capstone Press, Ages 3 to 6, $24.65. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781429676991

How Are Rain, Snow, and Hail Alike?
Ellen Lawrence

This book helps the reader understand the differences and similarities in three forms of precipitation. Each form is described and illustrated. Beginning with water and then moving through the water cycle, each type is followed from the ground to the sky to the ground and then to the sky again. Snowflakes and hail are described as frozen water with clear distinctions. This series of five Weather Wise books is designed for the beginning reader, grades 2 and 3. The topics covered in the series are designed to excite young readers and draw them into topics that are scientifically accurate and relevant. Each book is short enough (24 pages) to be easily mastered by the targeted grade level reader. The authors seem to take pains to use interesting photos to draw the reader into the information. New terms are presented but are described very well in the context. There is also a section called Science Words where a pronunciation guide and definition are provided to help the reader and a parent or teacher who might be helping to read the material. There are also a few supplemental materials provided from an "Index", a "Read More" books list, and a "Learn More Online" section, along with a short "About the Author" paragraph. For an early elementary teacher, this series of five books would provide a good set of classroom science materials. A school media center could also benefit from having this set available. The actual look and feel of the material might also make it relevant for students in the upper grades for whom reading might be a struggle. The books do not have a "childish" feel and could be considered high interest. Certainly the set of books deal with topics that are widely discussed and included in most curricula, like weather, climate, rain, snow, and hail. Grades K-3. 2012, Bearport Publishing, Ages 5 to 9, $23.93. Reviewer: Steve Canipe (National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)).
ISBN: 9781617724039

How Do You Know It's Winter?
Ruth Owen

When the days grow shorter and we need hats and mittens to stay warm outside, we know that winter has arrived. This juvenile nonfiction book from the "Signs of the Seasons" series is filled with images and information about the chilliest time of year. The pages are filled with color photographs of people and animals staying warm during the winter, and children enjoying the snow. Labels identify many of the objects or actions, and snowflake-shaped text boxes give the reader additional facts related to the topic. Fun ideas for winter science experiments make this book an ideal teaching resource. Children are advised to keep track of the time the sun sets each week to demonstrate that there are less hours of light each day, and to use a thermometer to observe the weather getting colder. They are encouraged to hang bird feeders to help hungry birds fill up on seed and nuts, and to count the number of birds (and squirrels!) that visit. There is even a suggestion for a "winter treasure hunt" with things to see, smell, touch, hear, and collect. Science words, printed in bold, are defined in simple language in the glossary, accompanied by photos. A table of contents and index are included for easy reference, along with information on additional web and print resources for learning more about winter. Young readers will enjoy this vivid glimpse into how winter affects people, animals, and the natural world. 2012, Bearport Publishing Company, Ages 4 to 8, $23.93. Reviewer: Rachelle Andrade (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781617723971

It's Snowing!
Gail Gibbons

Snow can mean "snow days" (no school), and the fun of snow angels and snowmen, but what is snow anyway? Gibbons illuminates the science behind snow and its many forms in this accessible introduction. From the process of evaporation, to the formation of ice crystals, and finally snowflakes, young readers trace the evolution of water into snow through simple text and bright, colorful, watercolor illustrations. The book can work two ways: the main narrative makes an engaging read-aloud, while supplemental text on each page provides more in-depth information and defines vocabulary words. Gibbons covers the prevalence of snowfall across the globe, the differences between snow, sleet, and blizzard conditions, and the ways in which snow operates as part of a larger ecosystem, protecting plants and animals tucked underground. Readers learn tips for dressing appropriately and preparing for disaster. Suggestions for a simple hands-on activity to capture and examine snowflakes is appended along with a selection of trivia facts about snow. Despite the breadth of topics addressed, the narrative has a logical flow, and each change in subject is clearly marked by the appearance of a summarizing statement in a larger font displayed at the top of the page. Gibbons' book provides a comprehensive and child-friendly overview of an often mystifying natural process; and would be a useful tool for early elementary classrooms learning about the water cycle and the seasons, as well as a good addition to weather or winter-themed storytimes. 2011, Holiday House, Ages 5 to 7, $7.99 and $17.95. Reviewer: Chelsea Couillard-Smith (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780823425457

Little Bea and the Snowy Day
Daniel Roode

Roode's computer graphic character, a bright eyed honeybee named Bea, is having a second adventure with her woodland friends, Bear, Rabbit, Beaver, Owl, and Goose--all of whom have graphic, rounded features and big black eyes. The fairly spare text uses a nice array of robust vocabulary words such as "Crunch," "Stomp" and "Skedaddle" and builds in some rhythm and rhyme such as "Tickle. Tingle. Chilly. Fun. Let's catch snowflakes one by one." In effect, this book offers some of the fun for the tongue language that builds phonemic awareness. The storyline is quite loose making it suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. Young children are also likely to relate to the simply drawn wide-eyed characters that end their fun in the snow by creating a new friend, a snow bear. They are also unlikely to be confused or concerned that in nature baby ducks and honeybees would find snowy day deadly rather than fun. 2011, HarperCollins, Ages 2 to 5, $12.99. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780061993954

Mice on Ice
Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

The wintry adventures of mice dressed in elaborately patterned outfits are related in brief, simple sentences in this volume of the "I Like to Read" series. Across the double pages the mice walk on snow; then they skate on ice. "Mice on ice look nice." The large typeface and few words per page make for easy reading as we follow the mice. Their skating is interrupted by a large cat, filling the double page. But this cat, with a hat, is no threat. It simply joins the mice on the ice. "Nice!" The happy rodents skate around the cover, making merry in their digitally manipulated cut paper collage outfits and starry eyes. Decorative cut paper snowflakes fill the dark blue end pages with anticipation of the wintry scenes to come. A fine white line on the ice suggests their skating movements and then gives warning of the approaching cat. But all ends happily. 2012, Holiday House, Ages 3 to 6, $14.95 and $6.99. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780823425761

Owl's Winter Rescue
Anita Loughrey
Illustrated by Daniel Howarth

Fluffing her feathers as she sat up in her tree, Owl surveyed the woods. The winter days were getting cold and dreary. Owl flew quietly into the pasture. She saw small footprints in the snow, yet she knew Mouse would be asleep, snuggled warm in her nest. Owl wondered about the footprints and decided to follow them through the woods to the pond. That is where she saw Rabbit at the edge of the pond. The pond ice was smooth as glass, and Rabbit slipped. Rabbit tried to get off, but despite Squirrel's quick advice, he could not hop off. Slipping and sliding his way across the ice, until it began to crack. He tried to be still on the slippery ice, the crack broke and Rabbit fell into the freezing cold water. Owl wanted to help him the best she could. She flew down, and grabbed him with her feet and lifted him up. Poor Rabbit was cold despite his heavy fur. Owl rescued Rabbit! To keep him warm, she snuggled him under her wing. Rabbit thanked Owl for saving him. This is an age appropriate book with colorful illustrations. The story is engaging for the recommended Pre K to Grade 2. The author included four creative ideas for parent and child to enjoy. In addition, five questions about the story are included reinforcing what your child learned. 2012, Amicus Publishing, Ages 4 to 7, $17.95. Reviewer: Debby Willett (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781609922242

Rabbit's Snow Dance
James Bruchac and Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by Jeff Newman

When the long-tailed Rabbit wants something, he wants it immediately. One summer, tasty leaves high in the trees prove so irresistible to Rabbit that he decides he needs piles of snow to build up to the point he can reach the leaves. Small animals, such as Squirrel and Chipmunk, warn Rabbit that bringing snow in the summer will leave them without food. Beaver's dam is not finished, and Turtle is not ready to sleep. But Rabbit does not listen. He rushes home, grabs his drum and begins singing his winter song, the song that brings snow. Though the snow lasts only a day, the consequences of Rabbit's selfishness are long-lasting. This retelling of a traditional Iroquois tale by father-son duo James and Joseph Bruchac begs to be read aloud and shared at story time. Repeated sentences and sounds invite young listeners to chime in and bring the impatient Rabbit to life. Unusual animals, such as lynx and grouse give teachers an opportunity to discuss different habitats and the story's woodland inhabitants. Jeff Newman's energetic illustrations capture the feeling of animated cartoons of the 1970s and will inspire reenactments of Rabbit's racing, dancing, sleeping, and falling. A fun addition to any personal or library collection, this dramatic tale will capture the imagination of readers of all ages and gently teach lessons about seasons, thoughtfulness, and the importance of being patient. 2012, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Group, Ages 4 to 8, $16.99. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780803732704

Skiing Has Its Ups and Downs
Scott Nickel
Illustrated by Jorge Santillan

When it comes to downhill skiing, speed is everything, right? When Danny Gohl, the fastest kid in Victory school, gets an opportunity to learn the sport from former Olympian gold medalist Ace Faraday, Danny is convinced he will blow everyone away with his skills. However, on his first few runs down Triumph Mountain, Danny discovers that he will need more than speed to stay on his feet. He experiences further embarrassment and frustration as his twin sister outshines him on the slopes. Just as Danny feels he is getting into a groove, he wipes out with a force that makes his head spin. Nervous and discouraged, Danny skips practice the next day and considers giving up the sport altogether. After Ace assures the boy of his potential and shares stories of failures that the coach himself has had to overcome, Danny is reminded that he is not a quitter, he is a conqueror! As Danny sails over the snow, he learns that overcoming his fear and doubt is an amazing feeling. This inspiring story from the "Sports Illustrated Kids--Victory School Superstars" series takes readers on a journey into the mind and emotions of a character with whom they will find it easy to identify. Santillan's drawings are colorful, and capture the mood of the story in all of its "ups and downs." Readers will not only learn an important life lesson from this fiction book, but will also be introduced to the names and uses of various pieces of equipment needed for downhill skiing. A time line at the end details important moments in the sport, complete with photographs of important people and events. Children will enjoy cheering Danny on to success in this well-paced story. 2012, Stone Arch Books/Capstone, Ages 7 up, $25.32 and $5.95. Reviewer: Rachelle Andrade (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781434222343

Valerie Bodden

This book is a welcome addition to the early education science curriculum. As part of "Our Wonderful Weather" series, this book explains, in elementary terms, what snow is and how it forms. One of the most stunning photographs is that of a snowflake less than half an inch across, which will delight young readers. The book explains the role of meteorologists, who try to predict the path of a snowstorm with the aid of radar and satellites. The book points out, however, that scientists only need a ruler to measure how much snow has fallen. At the end of the book there is a simple experiment, using some common kitchen utensils, which youngsters can perform to demonstrate how ice, liquid, and vapor form. Explanations of complex scientific concepts are avoided, since the book is aimed at first grade students. The book contains five short chapters with minimal text and large photographs, and, because of this, the book resembles a picture book, at least in format. One of the benefits of reading all of the books in the "Wonderful Weather" series is the repetition of words and sentences, which will help beginning readers. At the back of the book are a glossary, a list of books for additional reading, a list of web sites, and an index. Parents and teachers should be advised that the book does contain short descriptions and photographs of snowstorms (such as the "Blizzard of the Century" in the eastern U.S. and Canada in 1993) that resulted in death and destruction. Adults should be prepared to answer questions young children may have regarding the loss of life and property. 2012, Creative Education, Ages 7 up, $17.95. Reviewer: Leona Illig (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781608181483

Snow Day for Mouse
Judy Cox
Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

On an "icy, lacy, snow-flaky day," Mouse, appealing hero of two previous stories, is warm and dry inside. The family is delighted to learn it is a snow day with no school. After baking cookies, they let a juicy gumdrop fall. As Mouse goes toward it and Cat prepares to pounce, Mom grabs a broom to sweep out the snow Dad has tracked in, sweeping out Mouse and Cat as well. Mouse joyfully waltzes across a frozen puddle; then toboggans down a hill. The friendly birds warn him of the watching cat, who is fortunately hit by a dollop of falling snow. Mouse begins to feel both cold and hungry. He is able to run inside with the kids. But he remembers his cold bird friends outside, and is happy to be able to scatter some crumbs for them. Mouse wears a sweater, slacks, and glasses with heavy frames, while his bird friends are more fancily attired. Acrylic paints are used to depict the naturalistic, active double-page scenes with a myriad of details of the snowy adventures. Despite the traditional cat-mouse antagonism, this is a humorous, happy tale with a theme of generosity. 2012, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8, $16.95. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780823424085

Why Is It Winter?
Sara L. Latta

When it is winter the sun's rays hit the north part of the earth at an angle, so they are not as strong. This makes the air, land, and water colder and often brings snow and ice. This book easily explains to early readers these changes as well as the changes that winter brings to plants, animals, and people. Each chapter is only two pages long and consists of one to two paragraphs. There are bright colorful photographs on every page and the text is large and easy to read. Additionally, the glossary, identified as "words to know," is at the beginning of the book so that young readers are aware of the important terminology as soon as they open the book. There is also a table of contents, an index, and a list of recommended books and web sites to consult for additional information. This is an informative and educational book ideal for introducing young readers to science and weather. It is part of the "WhyDo We Have Seasons?" series. 2012, Enslow Elementary/Enslow Publishers, Ages 4 to 8, $21.26. Reviewer: Denise Daley (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780766039889

Updated 01/01/13

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