Under the Snow

Last updated Monday, December 6, 2010

Author: Melissa Stewart
Illustrator: Constance R. Bergum
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 1561454931
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2010

Synopsis: From School Library Journal Kindergarten-Grade 2—Stewart takes readers on an informative journey, describing how snakes, voles, spotted salamanders, carp, beavers, and red-spotted newts, among other animals, "spend their days" during the winter months. Fascinating facts—a wood frog can freeze solid on the forest floor and survive—make the spare text intriguing and fun. Beautiful paintings in muted watercolors convey the creatures in their habitats and the quiet of the season. This pleasing addition is a great read-aloud for units on winter and animal habitats.—Michele Sealander, Hamburg School, NJ END

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary: blanket (verb), wetlands, vole, burrow, waterboatmen (a type of beetle—see picture), newt

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you see on the cover?
•  What do you think the book is going to be about?
•  Look for the frog on the back cover? Why do you think the frog is hiding?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Does snow cover Los Angeles during the winter? Do you know of anywhere that does get covered in snow during winter?
•  Do you know what sledding and ice skating are? Have you ever done either of these activities? (Do you know that there’s Ice Skating in downtown LA—Pershing Square and LA LIVE?)
•  Can you see where in the wall the ladybugs are hidden? Why are they hiding?
•  Do you know what a vole is? What animal that you do know does it look like? (some type of rodent)
•  When do you think the chipmunk started building his winter home? How do you know? (the leaves are fall colors)
•  How do you think a butterfly can live under a pile of leaves? Wouldn’t they crush the butterfly? Why or why not?
•  Do you know what a salamander is?
•  Why do you think the woodchuck’s heart rate drops and breathing slows? (discussion about hibernation)
•  Why aren’t the fish interested in eating the bugs? Don’t they need to eat the bugs to survive?
•  Look at the beaver’s feet. Why do you think they’re webbed?
•  Name the animals that you see on the spring page. What did they do during the winter when the snow covered the ground?

Craft ideas:
•  Make snowflakes: http://www.kckpl.lib.ks.us/ys/crafts/snowflak.htm
•  Make an origami frog: http://www.frogsonice.com/froggy/origami/
•  Draw and cut out the different animals from the story. Color on both sides and you have Christmas ornaments!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t 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!