The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

big snow

Publishing: Macmillan, New York, 1948 (copyright renewed in 1976)

Awards: Caldecott Winner

Description: This book starts with geese flying south for the winter and many different types of animals observing this phenomenon and preparing in their own ways for winter. As winter arrives the days get shorter and a heavy, heavy snow falls. The animals each come out when it is over, and they feed on a banquet of seeds put out by a little old lady who lives on the edge of the woods. Finally, a groundhog comes up on a sunny February 2nd and pronounces that there will be six more weeks of winter. The drawings jump between black and white and color. The geese are beautifully incorporated as a border on the first few pages, and small illustrations are interspersed with text on a couple of pages. The endpapers are a gorgeous teal blue with large, white snowflakes.

Programming: This book focuses on animals preparing for the winter, so students might discuss or write about things that they or their parents do to prepare for the winter or for a snow storm. Students might make a pine cone bird feeder or otherwise feed some of the animals such as the ones in the story. Finally, the text mentions a groundhog, so this might be a good book to read on groundhog’s day to explain the tradition.


Old Bear by Kevin Henkes

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes


Publishing: Greenwillow Books, 2008

Description: Old Bear goes into hibernation for the winter and dreams of the spring, summer, autumn, and finally the winter. When he wakes up from his very long nap he walks into the spring day and realizes he isn’t dreaming. 

Programming: Students could have a worksheet divided into four sections-one for each season. They could have paper shapes that they have to place in one season or another, such as snow, or falling leaves. 

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead


Publishing: Roaring Book Press, New York, 2012

Description: Bear is getting sleepy, but before he goes into hibernation, he has a story to tell. Only, he cannot find anyone to tell it to. The illustrations of this text resemble Erin Stead’s typical style (which I love!), with soft colors and pencil lines.

Programming: This would be a good book for sharing with students about animals preparing for the winter. What do people do to prepare for the winter? A matching sheet with animals and their preparations might be a good way to drive this point home.

Note: This husband and wife duo is also responsible for Caldecott Medal winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee.