Winter’s Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change, by Jan Thornhill, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

 Winter’s Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change, by Jan Thornhill, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, Owlkids, 9781771474481, 2021 (original hardcover appeared in 2014)

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Paperback

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  It’s not easy to make a good story with a science concept at its heart, but Thornhill has done a wonderful job with this tale about hibernation. Lily starts out as a young brown Snowshoe hare. It’s her first winter and hampered by her lack of seasonal knowledge, she watches the other forest creatures getting ready and wonders if their adaptations will work for her. The grackles tell her hares don’t migrate and from Squirrel, she learns she doesn’t need to store food. She experiments with hiding under a rock like Frog and asks Turtle if she can join him in the mud at the bottom of the pond. The colorful, textured artwork looks to be a combination of cut paper augmented with pencil and paint (although it may be digital).  The animals and their biome have just enough interesting detail to be identifiable; the needles of the pine tree and papery birch bark make those trees familiar.  Sharp-eyed readers will notice that Lily is getting ready for winter without even trying as her brown fur slowly turns white. There is quite a bit of text, but the animals’ dialogue flows very nicely and Thornhill skillfully weaves facts into the narrative. An afterward provides more animal and environmental facts, with short paragraphs devoted to each of the critters we’ve met through Lily.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No. Presumably the title will not drum up images of Game of Thrones for the target audience.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Children aged 4-6 who live in the temperate zone and want to learn about cold weather adaptations. With its large images, ample dialogue and character development, this would make a great read aloud for fall.

Who should buy this book? 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

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: April 8, 2021

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