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When Winter Comes

Last updated Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Author: Nancy Van Laan
Illustrator: Susan Gaber
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0689817789
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2009

Synopsis: This lilting book celebrates the onset of winter: "Where oh where do the leaves all go/when winter comes and the cold winds blow?" This question is repeated for flowers, caterpillars, songbirds, field mice, deer, and fish. The rhyming answers use simple and accessible language. Gaber's exuberant acrylic paintings show a child, mother, father, and dog taking a walk through the woods during a snowfall. The use of perspective in the illustrations unifies the book, as broad landscapes appear on the question pages, while close-ups of the family and the animals and plants being discussed appear on the pages with the answers. Through both words and pictures, this book conveys a sense of joy in the changing seasons. From the title page showing the characters bundling up to go outside, to the cozy views of field mice and deer cuddling close for warmth, to the final spread where the child has been tucked into a warm bed, this simple story is the literary equivalent of a cup of hot cocoa on a cold day. From School Library Journal

Discussion topics:
  When is winter time? How do you know when? What is different about winter in Northern and Southern California? Do you have a pet? Vocabulary: Wilt Burrow Caterpillar Cocoon Mossy Thistledown Dappled What happens in the spring? Where do birds go during winter? Do pets go anywhere in winter? What do you like to do when its cold?

Craft ideas:
  1.) Fold a sheet of paper into 4 sections and draw the four seasons of the year. 2.) Make Christmas cards

Special activities:
  Word Search (see additional activity sheets) Act like a bird flying south, a leaf falling or a fish swimming

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you dont have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!