Prepping for Fairy Tale Feasts

Stories often serve up scenes rich with food, and the relationship is reciprocal. Who better than Jane Yolen to serve up a spicy stew of both stories and recipes? Yolen and her daughter, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, have concocted an appealing collection of 18 recipes, including latkes, kugel and blintzes, complemented by an equal number of folktales. Jewish Fairy Tales Feasts by Jane Yolen

A long-awaited follow-up to their charming Fairy Tale Feasts (2006), this collection puts the spotlight on some of the many enchanting and thought-provoking Jewish folktales that have been passed down over the centuries. It gives young and old families an extra incentive to spend time together, creating meals, as well as telling stories. That’s not just nourishing, it’s entertaining!

One of my favorite tales in this collection is “And the Matzo Was Still Warm,” which Yolen adapted from a version by Asher Barash. Long ago in Mainz, a father leaves his son Jacob with a strange dying wish: “Never cross the River Danube.” Years after his father’s death, Jacob has married and has a family, but he yearns to go study the Torah with the revered Rabbi Judah. But, to do that, he must …. . Well, you guessed it.

He crosses the river and winds up spending three years studying with the pious rabbi. But on Passover Eve, Jacob’s heart is heavy as he longs to return home to his wife and son. Rabbi Judah reads his mind. Alas, it’s impossible for Jacob to reach Mainz in time to be with his family for the seder.

Unexpectedly, the rabbi proposes that Jacob help bake the matzo. “After that, we will see what I can arrange to get you home.”

And what a short, strange trip back home, thanks to the rabbi’s miraculous gift.

Paired with the story is Heidi’s recipe for matzo brei. As with all the book’s recipes, she offers simple instructions, preceded by a list of ingredients and of necessary equipment.

Folks of all ages and faiths can find something to savor in this playful collection. As the authors note, “Recipes and stories are made more beautiful, more filling, more memorable by what you put into them.”

See also …

Fairy Tale FeastsNot One Damsel in Distress World Folktales for Strong GirlsSerpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women by Katrin Tchana

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Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop: Enter to Win “Troll Bridge: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tale”! (

Christmas in the Country

Christmas Day in the MorningPearl Buck’s Christmas Day in the Morningfirst published in 1955, is a timeless treasure perfect for reading aloud. Reissued a decade ago with beautiful, wintry illustrations by Mark Buehner, this tender story features a man who lovingly recalls the time when, as a 15-year-old, he overheard his father telling his mother how he hated to awaken Rob so early to help with the farm chores. At that moment Rob begins to feel the enormity of his father’s love for him. How he yearns to do something to show his own love for his big-hearted dad.

Rob realizes the most meaningful gift of all would not involve purchasing an object. Rather, the boy decides he will slip out before anyone else — at 3 a.m. Christmas morning — to relieve his father of all the morning chores and let him enjoy just one morning of leisure. It would mean the farmer could at last witness his children’s expressions when they first see the Christmas tree and open their presents.
Perch yourself by the fire and read this touching story to older children. Be prepared for tears — and for sweet memories.

Another warm story set in a long-ago Christmas is poet Donald Hall’s recently published Christmas at Eagle Pond. The author circles back to the year 1940, when he experiences the treat of spending Christmas with his grandparents at their farm in New Hampshire. Hall lovingly recalls the sights, smells, and sounds of a life centered on family, community, and the land.

Christmas at Eagle PondTwelve-year-old Donnie fondly falls in with his grandparents’ routines. He joins Gramp in the barn, as he milks the cows and relates stories of the past or recites poems to the boy. At night, Gram fills hot-water bottles for the beds. “I walked through their icy bedroom to mine, even icier, and stuffed my hot-water bottle under the sheets to warm my feet. Crawling beneath the covers I shivered a moment, but the quilts were thick, my feet almost too hot, and soon I fell asleep in my familiar goosefeather bed at the house I loved most in the world.”
Donnie’s week in New Hampshire involves other simple events, such as seeing the Christmas pageant at church, getting new socks, and feasting on the huge meal Gram prepares. As the boy prepares to return home, the air becomes “heavy with fine snowflakes, the kind that fall at the start of a big storm.” How, Donnie wonders, will he be able to return home to Connecticut?

This quiet, nostalgic novella holds no dramatic action (although vegetarians might want to skip Gramp’s selection of chickens for the meal). Instead, Christmas at Eagle Pond offers a comforting, slightly bittersweet respite from the clash and bang of modern life. Be sure to read the author’s note.

Another highly recommended novella with a rural setting for ages 8+ is:Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

and for ages 6 to 8, consider these picture books:

Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant

Cobweb Christmas by Shirley ClimoWhile the Bear Sleeps retold by Caitlin Matthews

The Parakeet That Brought Them Together

“Suddenly David cried out, “Papa, look!” And he pointed to the window.
I looked up and saw something that seemed unbelievable. Outside on the windowsill stood a yellow-green bird watching the candles.”  Power of Light
With this unexpected event, the renowned Isaac Bashevis Singer shows how miracles can still brighten our dark, confused world. In “The Parakeet Named Dreidel,” one of the eight warm tales in The Power of Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah, Singer invites us into the apartment of a family as they make room for a lost parakeet attracted by the light of their menorah.
The parakeet possesses charming, near-human traits: it speaks a selection of Yiddish words; it hops on the author’s fingers as he types his stories; it even pushes a dreidel — hence, the inspiration for the family’s name for the pet.
In another pleasing twist, the original owner of the parakeet eventually comes into the son David’s life, an occurrence that ushers in a lovely change, which I leave to you readers to discover for yourselves. This sparkling collection will make for cherished memories of family story times during Hanukkah or the winter.
While The Power of Light is, lamentably, out of print, you can still find good used copies (by clicking on the live link for the title, you’ll see what’s available at Alibris).

See also my past post on Hanukkah titles and these
related articles:

Thanksgiving knocks at the door

After burning dinner, an elderly couple, Ann and Ed, decide to go to the New World Cafe for Thanksgiving. Finding the door open when they arrive, they see tables decorated not just with Pilgrims and Native Americans but also with figurines of what appear to be Russian dancers. Readers should suspect at this point that the restaurant is not, in fact, open for business.

The cafe owners, who are Russian immigrants, are wondering who has crashed their family party. Grandmother, though, generously welcomes the strangers, and they all go on to share songs, dances, and stories, along with the big dinner. As Ann and Ed leave, Papa tries to close the door, but finds a potato propping it open: “In old country,” Grandmother says, “Thanksgiving door is like happy heart, opened up big and wide. Potato good for that.”

Debby Atwell’s bright, folkloric illustrations add to the fun of this unusual Thanksgiving story, as she spices it with such details as iconic Russian onion domes in a picture in the restaurant, the starched-clean scarves on the women, and the telling cover image of Grandmother pushing the potato under the door. For ages 6 to 8, The Thanksgiving Door is a quiet treat to savor.

For rousing nonfiction, turn to Melissa Sweet’s fascinating Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.
Tony Sarg was already famous for his mechanical marionettes that attracted hordes of shoppers who came to gaze at Macy’s “Wondertown” windows. What more could the department store do to highlight the holiday?

The author points out that many of Macy’s workers were, like Tony, immigrants, who “missed their own holiday traditions of music and dancing in the streets.” Why shouldn’t Macy’s put on a parade for their employees? And who would be more perfect for the job than Tony Sarg?

The first parade was a dazzler: a procession winding its way from Harlem to Herald Square, resembling a European street carnival, with horse-drawn floats and even real bears, elephants, and camels from Central Park Zoo. That first parade was so successful, the store decided this was the beginning of a new Thanksgiving Day ritual.

The wild animals, though, caused concerns, and for the 1928 parade, Macy’s asked Tony to come up with a better alternative. Mulling over a vast range of puppets, Sarg fixed on the idea of an Indonesian rod puppet from his own toy collection. Voila! The parade would never be the same. “Part puppet, part balloon, the air-filled rubber bags wobbled down the avenues, propped up by wooden sticks.”

Melissa Sweet has infused every page of her award-winning picture book with her own inventive illustrations that show off her clever snipping and flipping and sketching. Beginning with end papers featuring vintage pages of The Tony Sarg Marionette Book and finishing with a dramatic 1933 New York Times ad (“HERE COMES THE PARADE!! IT’S IMMENSE! IT’S COLOSSAL! COME A-RUNNING!!), the author/illustrator has created a brief biography that soars with color and energy. Highly recommended for ages 7 to 10. 

Another exceptional nonfiction book, this one for ages 9 to 12, is 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, by Catherine O’Neill Grace in cooperation with the living-history museum Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts. Sharp, full-color photos of re-enactors in period costumes help children understand some of the roots of the holiday. You’ll find no pumpkin pie, no silver buckles in this Thanksgiving account. You will, however, discover both sides of the story of how 52 English colonists came to celebrate their first harvest with 90 men of the Wampanoag tribe, in the town we now call Plymouth.

Streets Filled With Latkes?

No matter what your religious affiliation (if any), Hanukkah tales full of light or magic offer a special glow this time of year.  I’ve known such joy reading stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, as well as those by children’s book authors Eric A. Kimmel, Barbara Diamond Goldin, and Howard Schwartz. Kimmel’s most recent picture book, The Golem’s Latkes, is worth celebrating. Blending elements of Jewish folktales and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Kimmel concocts a humorous, well-paced plot, enhanced with bright, lively illustrations and a concise author’s note on significant Hebrew words that appear in the story.

Rabbi Judah makes a giant man of clay who doesn’t know when to quit. Just before the first night of Hanukkah, the rabbi must go speak to the emperor. He tells his new maid Basha to  clean the house and cook lots of latkes while he’s gone, for he’s expecting many guests. Although the rabbi has never allowed anyone else to supervise the golem, he decides to make an exception this time, considering all the tasks she must manage. He warns Basha, however, not to leave the golem alone. The giant will work incessantly unless someone tells him “Enough!”

Of course, the young woman does not heed his warning — and chaos ensues. The golem makes so many latkes they literally take over the street! Kimmel’s happy ending has everyone in the village sharing the feast.

For more wondrous Hanukkah stories, consider …

“The Magic Menorah” in Howard Schwartz’s fine collection The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa. A girl visits her aunt Luisa, whose Latina-Jewish customs include a dreidel pinata. There’s also a mysterious late-night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah. Ages 6 to 8.

Just Enough Is Plenty by Barbara Diamond Goldin. A magical story of kindness rewarded. A poor family welcomes a stranger into their home, and the peddlar turns out to be Elijah, who leaves them a pack of fine gifts. Ages 7 to 10.

And see my post featuring Eric Kimmel’s When Mindy Saved Hanukkah and other great Hanukkah picture books for ages 6-10.

A Quiet, Lustrous Gift

Park, Linda Sue. The Third Gift. Illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Houghton Mifflin, 2011.

Quiet and lustrous, this spare story by the Newbery Award-winning author Linda Sue Park distinguishes itself from the jingly, jangly stuff that crowds most bookstores this time of year. Taking us back more than 2,000 years ago to a desert in the Arabian Peninsula, the author focuses on a son who accompanies his father as they go about their work, which will ultimately play a surprising role in a particular Biblical story.

Throughout The Third Gift, Mr. Ibatoulline (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) provides finely detailed acrylic-gouache paintings that focus on the white-robed pair. He first shows them resting beside a tough, gnarled tree with spiky-looking tufts of dull green sprouting here and there. The backdrop of bright desert light reflects motley shades of tan, gray, bisque, and alabaster. This harsh region is where the two go about collecting “tears” of myrrh.

We follow the boy and father as they trudge through the heat and dust, looking for the right trees to cut for the precious sap that provides their livelihood. Touchingly, the father saves the best for his son. “Look,” he says, putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder and pointing to the biggest tear. The double spread shows how the boy carefully twists off the sap, just as he has watched his father do. Then he holds it in his palm and sniffs “its sharp, bitter sweetness.”

In time, the two walk to the market, where the father knows the spice merchant will pay him good money for his harvest of tears. The myrrh will be used for medicine, flavoring, or, in the case of superior ones, as incense at funerals. On this day, three men in splendid robes are eager to buy one more gift to add to their already-purchased gold and frankincense. The strangers select the very best tear, the one the boy collected. Strangely enough, it turns out the men are intent upon presenting such gifts to a baby.

We last see the boy in a state of silent wonder, as the three men ride on their camels through the desert toward Bethlehem.

The Third Gift
is an unusually thoughtful and bittersweet story that shines a light on ordinary people in a historic place and time. The author’s note provides details on myrrh, on her inspiration for this work, and on the Nativity story.

Reprinted with permission from the New York Journal of Books.

For other sensitive holiday picture books, see my post “A Time for Peace” and these fine new ones:

For laughs, try …


The Puppeteer Who Made the Parade

              Some movers and shakers are in it for the sake of sheer fun. Tony Sarg loved toys so much he never abandoned them. Instead, he devised puppets that could float along Broadway for a parade like no other. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade is Melissa Sweet’s  joyous tribute to the man and to creativity itself.

Oh, the snipping and flipping and sketching that went into creating this fantastic nonfiction book. Beginning with end papers featuring vintage pages of The Tony Sarg Marionette Book and finishing with a dramatic 1933 New York Times ad (“HERE COMES THE PARADE!! IT’S IMMENSE! IT’S COLOSSAL! COME A-RUNNING!!), Ms. Sweet delivers a package that soars with color and energy.

Tony Sarg (rhymes with “aargh”) might not be a household name, but he invented the floats that fill multitudes of TV screens every Thanksgiving Day. Here’s how Sweet opens the story:

images courtesy of author/illustrator

As with her other inventive work, including the Caldecott-Honor book A River of Words by Jen Bryant, Melissa Sweet constructs her illustrations with a bright array of materials. You can see behind the image of young Tony, appearing as if from an old book, she includes a layer of magenta topped with a cut-fabric border featuring whimsical circles. Throughout the book, she intersperses her own lively drawings and paintings with a pleasing variety of objects — rulers, buttons, and even her own actual puppets, to tell this story in an engaging and original way. I can’t imagine the Caldecott committee will overlook this book as a contender for the upcoming annual prize for illustrations.

The story of how Tony Sarg initiated a Thanksgiving rite with his 1928 parade based on street carnivals from around the world makes for a rousing read-aloud. And how many children will be inspired to make their own puppets? For ideas, see Sweet’s appealing activity kit at Houghton Mifflin.

Related Article

“Five Questions for Melissa Sweet” from Horn Book.

Treats for all Tastes

The skeletons, ghouls and ghosts can get old for some of us this time of year. Somewhere in the piles of Halloween books available, a few enchanting books are actually worth reading aloud, however. The children at my former school library adored Julia Donaldson’s snappy Room on the Broom, which opens with these fun lines: “The witch had a cat / and a hat that was black, / And long ginger hair / in a braid down her back. / How the cat purred / and how the witch grinned, / As they sat on their broomstick / and flew through the wind.”
Then off with her hat, and misadventures ensue as three friendly animals — a spotted dog, a green parrot, and a frog — hitch a ride. At last, the broom breaks, and the witch encounters a frightful dragon that wants “witch and chips for my tea.” That’s when the animals come to the rescue and scare off the dragon. And that’s not all; they even work together to build a new and improved broom that will accommodate them all! More amusing than scary, this book is a treat.

More Not-Too-Scary Halloween Titles for the Young

For Older Children …

Rex, Adam. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Children, especially boys, howl when reading or hearing these hilarious poems about various monsters. The illustrations are as riotous as the poems.

Yolen, Jane. Tam Lin. Voyager, 1990. Beautiful, lyrical retelling of the Scottish folktale of the brave young woman who rescues a man kidnapped by the Queen of the Fairies. Even young adults would enjoy this powerful love story set on All Hallows Eve.

And Creepier Fare:

What’s With the Eggs?

As I peruse the Easter displays at local bookstores, I’m reminded once again of the scarcity of excellent picture books relating to this holy day for Christians. In many ways, the egg, with its promise of life — or at least protein for sustaining the living — is a fitting symbol of Easter. Here’s a trio of terrific egg books that educators and families can use to celebrate the day.

San Souci, Robert D. The Talking Eggs. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial, 1989. Ages 6-9. 
This folktale was such a favorite with second-graders, I made it a tradition to read it aloud each year just before Easter. A Louisiana Creole version of the Cinderella story, it’s a rich brew of magic and poetic justice.  Way long ago, there lived in a shack a haughty woman and her daughter, Rose, and stepdaughter, Blanche. Rose took after her lazy, mean-spirited mother, but Blanche was “sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets.”  One day Blanche set off to fetch water for the others, and she met a strange old woman who asked her for water. Blanche politely offers her a drink and is invited to visit the old woman’s house. Before she gets there, though, the old woman tells her she must promise not to laugh at anything she sees. When she reaches the woman’s house, Blanche sees strange, multicolored animals and a chicken house full of talking eggs. Because Blanche treats the woman respectfully and does exactly as she asks, she is rewarded with eggs that contain gold! silver! rubies! silk and satin and even a carriage to take her home in style.

Of course, when she arrives, Rose and her mother lust after those riches. The mother tells Rose she must seek out the old woman. Rose, however, acts rude and lazy when she encounters her, and her reward turns out to be very different. Pinkney’s vivid, detailed full-page illustrations won the Caldecott Honor, and add much humor to this folktale. Kindness triumphs — and makes for a read-aloud that every child should hear.

Polacco, Patricia. Rechenka’s Eggs. Putnam, 1996. Ages 6-9. In the Ukrainian tradition, Easter is the time for showing off brightly painted eggs.  Babushka lives alone in her cottage in the country, outside of Moscow. Everyone admires her beautiful Easter eggs that she paints every winter and brings to the big Easter festival in Moscow. One day she rescues a wounded goose she names Rechenka, and nurses her back to health. Rechenka accidentally breaks Babushka’s eggs, and the elderly woman is dismayed. Rechenka, though, surprises her by laying 12 magnificent, decorated eggs in their place. Babushka takes the eggs to Moscow and wins another prize. When she returns, she finds the goose has flown but has left one her one last egg, which, when hatched, will become her companion. Polacco’s vibrant, detailed paintings, showing off the intricate patterns of  Ukrainian-style Easter eggs, as well as colorful dresses, rugs, and the city’s onion-shaped domes, bring this tale to life. Winner of the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award. For another beloved Easter classic, consider Polacco’s Chicken Sunday.

Aston, Dianna Hutts. An Egg is Quiet. illus. by Sylvia Long. Chronicle, 2006.  Ages 4-6.

“It sits there, under its mother’s feathers… on top of its father’s feet… buried beneath the sand. Warm. Cozy.” Aston captures the astounding variety of eggs with a simple format of offering brief, poetic statements, followed by details and gorgeous illustrations. Sylvia Long, whose Mother Goose book is one of the very best available, lends her remarkable talents to this nonfiction book. Her lovely watercolor paintings of 60 eggs range from tiny hummingbird eggs, to tubular dogfish eggs, and gloppy frog eggs. This book is a wonder to behold and lends itself well to science lessons for the young. Another use? Plop this treat into a child’s Easter basket.

Ukrainian Easter eggs

Image via Wikipedia

One Snowy Day a Groundhog Met a Fox

Blackaby, Susan. Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox. Illus. by Carmen Segovia. Sterling, 2011. Ages 4-7.

If you’re seeking a whimsical read-aloud for Groundhog’s Day, you’ve found it. Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox sparkles with wit and sly charm. Brownie is a clever groundhog that meets a hungry would-be predator on a cloudy February 2nd. The fox tells her, “Hold still…. I’m trying to eat you for breakfast.” Brownie’s flip response is that it’ s simply too late for breakfast. The two find they both hate to wait. Brownie suggests the fox work up an appetite by clearing the snow off the pond. Segovia’s humorous image shows the fox putting his fluffy tail to good use. Alas, after all that effort, it’s too late for lunch, says Brownie. Then the tricky groundhog leads the fox to a tree and winds her scarf around and around the fox, binding him to the trunk.

Brownie’s little heart is touched, though, as she hears the fox’s plaintive cries. She decides it’s time to share what’s in her basket: cocoa and cinnamon toast. The crumbs attract a robin — the first sign of spring! The two new friends leave for home, pondering their next adventure. The illustrator’s note describes how Segovia first conceived of this engaging character one winter as she sketched a groundhog. Her wintry palette, splashed with the fox’s red, is as refreshing as that impromptu picnic.

Enhance a snowy story with the cold facts, perfectly described and displayed in

Cassino, Mark and Jon Nelson. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder. Chronicle, 2009. Ages 4-9. You’ll be singing songs of snow, glorious snow after reading this snappy little informative book. Cassino and Nelson reveal the scientific nature of snow by using an accessible format featuring a brief fact in a large type size, then giving details in smaller text. Readers will learn of the three major types of crystals (star-shaped, plate and columnar), as well as other interesting facts. (It’s the molecular structure of water that creates the six-sided crystals, for instance.) The superb illustrations include both spectacular photographs that beg to be shared and Aoyagi’s ink and watercolor diagrams that show how a crystal develops from a speck of soil, pollen, or other substance, and then develops into an intricate six-sided beauty. Also noteworthy are the clear instructions on catching and examining snow crystals — just the trick for getting readers to venture outside to explore wintry wonders.

More and More Snow …

Alarcon, Francisco X. Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems. illus. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Children’s Book Press, 2001. Ages 7+ Fresh poems, often written from an unusual perspective, grace bright and beautiful pages showcasing poems in both Spanish and in English.

Andersen, Hans Christian. The Snow Queen. Trans. and retold by Naomi Lewis. Illus. by Christian Birmingham. Candlewick, 2008. Ages 8-10. Don’t miss Andersen’s most beautiful fairy tale, a source of inspiration for C.S. Lewis and other fantasy writers. Of the many versions available, Lewis’s is the one you want. This memorable wintry tale begs to be read aloud: “The cloak and cap were made of snow, and the driver ah, she was a lady, tall and slender and dazzlingly white!” Gerda’s dear friend Kay is kidnapped by the Snow Queen and held in her palace, where “the walls were of driven snow, and the doors and windows of cutting wind.” Gerda sets out on a treacherous quest to save Kay. Barrett’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations capture the dreamy, sometimes frightening aspects of Andersen’s brilliant story.

Aylesworth, Jim. The Mitten. illus. by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, 2009. Ages 3-6. This dynamic duo has produced a lively version of the beloved Ukrainian folktale, in which more and more animals cram into an almost ever-stretching mitten. McClintock’s energetic illustrations created with ink, gouache, and watercolor provide the perfect wintry touch.

da Costa, Deborah. Snow in Jerusalem. illus. by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. Albert Whitman, 2001. Ages 6-8. Two boys live in Jerusalem, but they have never met. Avi lives in the Jewish Quarter, while Hamudi lives in the Muslim Quarter. To their surprise, they discover they have both been caring for the same stray white cat. The cat knows no boundaries, and leads the boys to friendship — as unexpected as snow in Jerusalem. If you don’t have this book, get it! Children love the story, which provides wonderful opportunities to discuss conflict in the Middle East and the nature of friendship and trust.

Florian, Douglas. Winter Eyes: Poems and Paintings. Greenwillow, 1999. Fun for all in these brief, whimsical poems, enlivened with Florian’s witty paintings.

Photo of a snow crystal by Wilson Bentley

Martin, Jacqueline. Snowflake Bentley. Houghton, 1998. Wilson Bentley of Vermont first discovered how to photograph snow crystals, as described in this modern classic picture-book biography. Also explore the Snowflake Bentley web site to see his astounding photographs such as the one at left.

Stewart, Melissa. Under the Snow. illus. by Constance Rummel Bergum. Peachtree, 2009. Where do the ladybugs go when it’s cold? What about the bees and the centipedes? Stewart explores winter aspects of such habitats as a field, a forest, a pond, and a wetland. Bergum’s watercolor paintings reveal the animals’ world beneath the snow and the world above, where people skate on frozen ponds and deer forage for food. Use this simple informational book to amaze and to enhance winter story times. Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, 2010

Whipple, Laura, ed. A Snowflake Fell: Poems About Winter. illus. by Hatsuki Hori. Barefoot Books, 2003. All ages. This lovely collection of wintry poems by such poets as Nikki Giovanni, Jane Yolen, David McCord, Barbara Juster Esbensen, and Ted Hughes, explores the season in all its dazzling glory. Hori’s evocative pastel and watercolor paintings add to the frosty fun.

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