Here are a few of my favorite wintertime books – about animals, snow, and making snowmen. These stories are great reads before or after heading outdoors to enjoy a winter wonderland. If you live in an area (like Rhode Island) where snow does not always blanket the ground this time of year, try some of the indoor activities listed below.
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
This is a simple story told by a child about how, with a little imagination and some odds ‘n ends from home, to make a snow family. Lovely collages colorfully show what each member of the snow family looks like.
Winter: An Alphabet Acrosticby Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans
On each page, a winter-related word provides the basis for an acrostic that reads like a short poem. Lovely hand-colored prints illustrate the adventures of a girl and her dog. This story is filled with vocabulary words related to the winter season.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
A lovely book about a hibernating bear who eventually wakes up after a long winter nap to be surprised by all his guests.
Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick
This beautifully photographed book is about woodland animals (bluejays, chickadees, deer, owls, squirrels and others) that become apprehensive when there is a stranger in their woods. The stranger turns out to be a snowman.
The Snowy Dayby Ezra Jack Keats
This tale is about a day with Peter, a little African American boy who lives in the city, and his delight in the first snow of the winter.
Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Book) by Jacqueline Briggs, illustrated by Martin Mary Azarian
This is the true story of Wilson Bentley, a farmer born in 1865 in Jericho, Vermont, a small town between Lake Champlain and Mount Mansfield. The story shows Bentley’s fascination, determination, and success in learning how to photograph snowflakes after his mother gave him a microscope when he was fifteen. Beautiful, bold woodcut illustrations.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
A wordless story that relies on pictures to tell the tale of a boy and his snowman.
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner
This imaginative tale makes you wonder what happens to your snowman at night while you are sleeping.
The Mittenby Jann Brett
This story is about a young boy who goes out to play in the snow with his new mittens. He loses one, which is soon discovered by a group of forest animals — a mole, a rabbit, a badger and a big brown bear, followed by a tiny brown mouse.
– Gather up your own bag of goodies (coffee beans, birdseed, corn, buttons, crackers, etc.) and head outside to make or dress your own snow family as in Ehlert’s book, Snowballs.
– Go for a hike and look for animal tracks in the snow as in Stranger in the Woods.
– Have your children come up with their own ways to explore the snow as Peter does in A Snowy Day. Make marks in the snow with sticks, create different kinds of footprints, make snow angels and more.
– Try to catch snowflakes outside on black paper and look at them with a magnifying glass as did Wilson Bentley.
– Have kids help identify the different objects used to make the snow people and animals in Lois Ehlert’s Snowballs.
– Make your own collage snow family.
– Talk about the different foods animals eat in the winter and what their tracks look like.
– See what happens when you bring a snowball inside like Peter in A Snowy Day. Put one in a bowl in the kitchen, and save one in the freezer and another in the refrigerator. What happens to each?
– Cut snowflakes out of paper.
– Have a cocoa with popcorn party. Invite your kids’ stuffed animals and read Bear Snores On.
– Find an old unmatched mitten and fill it with toy animals – see how many can fit.
– Lost a mitten? You are not the only one. Check The Lost Mitten Project.