Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Constance R. Bergum. Peachtree, 9781682631256, 2019
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Paperback picture book
What did you like about the book? A family bundles up and heads out to enjoy a winter day of sledding and skating, unaware that beneath the ice and snow, various animals are snoozing through the cold. This is a paperback reprint of Melissa Stewart’s 2009 classic nonfiction picture book. Recognized as outstanding by the National Science Teachers’ Association, Stewart answers questions about a host of animals’ winter survival strategies in clear, flowing prose. Even adults will be surprised to learn that a wood frog nestles beneath leaf fodder and can survive even if it freezes. Or that a groundhog hibernates, while chipmunks sleep for a few days at a time. Bergum’s beautifully detailed and clear watercolors zoom in on small creatures (like the wooly bear caterpillar and bumblebee queen), while also showing plenty of information about the habitat and homes of larger animals (the beaver lodge, the muddy lake bottom where the turtle lives.)
Anything you didn’t like about it? No. The only caveat I have is that this book is such a keeper, that you’d almost certainly want a hardcover for library or classroom use.
To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of Melissa Stewart (science teachers everywhere) will find this a great way to introduce seasonal change and animal adaptation to students in preschool to grade 2.
Who should buy this book? Daycare, elementary and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, chances are, you’ve already read it!
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: October 20, 2019