Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Favorite Picture Books: Over and Under the Snow

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal

Time to think about winter! I'm planning some winter-themed books to read with my girls this coming year and this book is a delightful new addition to our seasonal rotation.

A young girl and her father are cross-country skiing through the northeastern woods. As they glide "over the snow," they discuss the life "under the snow," in the subnivean zone. Deer mice, squirrels, shrews, voles, and bears appear, along with white-tailed deer and snowshoe hares and others. The bits of information about the animals are introduced naturally in the course of the story with more information provided at the end (along with recommended resources in books and online).

Christopher Silas Neal's artwork is all cool-toned for the winter season with the girl's red hat, scarf and mittens providing bright accents, along with the red fox. The animals are shown under the snow with the girl and her father above. Even I could pore over these pages; they are indeed art.

This is a perfect book to read just for the pure enjoyment of it's flowing language and illustrations, but it could also be a useful accompaniment to a study of winter habitats. There are plenty of topics for further discussion, if that's your wont: hibernation, life cycles, insects, amphibians, mammals, constellations, and camouflage (just for starters). I think this book deserves a place on every bookshelf, right next to Owl Moon (which of course should have its own post as one of my favorite picture books, but surely you've all read it already!).

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