Wintery Reads | New Picture Books

Filled with whimsy, wonder, and icy escapades, these recently published picture books can be shared with students to celebrate the season, launch winter-themed studies, or inspire creative projects.

Filled with whimsy, wonder, and icy escapades, these recently published picture books can be shared with students to celebrate the season, launch winter-themed studies, or inspire creative projects.

Bear and Wolf. by Daniel Salmieri. illus. by author. Enchanted Lion. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592702381.
PreS-Gr 2–During a quiet winter’s eve, two fearsome predators come face to face in the forest, take a walk together to savor the snow-sparkled sights, sounds, and scents that surround them, and forge an unlikely friendship based on their shared appreciation of nature. Poetic text and exquisite pencil-stroke-textured artwork commemorate the marvels of the season and the importance of observation, while also conveying the joy of discovering common ground.

Captain’s Log: Snowbound. by Erin Dionne. illus. by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Charlesbridge. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781580898256.
K-Gr 4–When a blizzard leaves everyone snowed in and bored to tears, a boy puts the research he has done for a school project to work in an imaginative—and snicker inducing—way. Emulating his idol, explorer Ernest Shackleton, and referencing the ill-fated 1914 South Pole expedition that resulted in the Endurance becoming ice-bound, the intrepid youngster skippers his own ship (his house) and crew (his diverse family members) through the storm and its stuck-inside-for-days aftermath. Cleverly wrought “Captain’s Log” entries and humorous cartoon artwork chronicle the voyage’s ups and downs, as moral plummets and a scallywag (his impish little brother) makes off with the dwindling store of hardtack (the cookie jar) before a thaw finally gets things back on track. Historical details about Shackleton’s journey are amusingly woven into this entertaining story, and an author’s note, complete with a photo and a glossary of the nautical terms used throughout, provide inspiration for further research.

Good Morning, Snowplow! by Deborah Bruss. illus. by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson. Scholastic. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338089493.
PreS-Gr 2–Tiny white flakes are beginning to fall, and as the rest of the town settles down to sleep, a dedicated driver gets his snowplow ready for the long night ahead, clearing blocked roads, spreading salt and sand, and rescuing stranded cars. Buoyant rhyming couplets and mixed-media illustrations filled with frosty hues and pleasing textures tell the tale of an unsung community helper who works tirelessly to keep everyone safe.

Got to Get to Bear’s! by Brian Lies. illus. by author. HMH. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544948822.
PreS-Gr 2–When Izzy the chipmunk receives a note from Bear asking her to come at once, she sets out immediately, determined to help her friend despite storm-threatening skies. Snow does indeed begin to fall, and is soon too deep for her to move, but Izzy’s friends arrive one by one to help her along the way: she is carried through the treetops by a squirrel (until it becomes too slippery), flown via skyway by a duck (unit they can no longer see), and carried through snowdrifts on a racoon’s back (with all of the other animals piled up beneath her). It’s an arduous journey, but the critters finally arrive at Bear’s warm den, where a wonderful surprise awaits Izzy. Lies’s cozy story of camaraderie, consideration, and resourcefulness is told with gentle humor and action-packed, handsomely rendered artwork.

Little Fox in the Snow. by Jonathon London. illus. by Daniel Miyares. Candlewick. Nov. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763688141.
K-Gr 4–Awakened by a halo of early-morning sunshine, a red fox emerges from his cozy burrow, embarks on a hunger-driven (and successful) hunt, comes nose-to-nose with a dangerous wolverine, and flees back to the safety of his hole—to dream of future days. Lyrical text and eye-dazzling ink-and-watercolor paintings flawlessly blend realistic details with a sense of wonder to provide a striking snapshot of the natural world. Pair this entrancing offering with Laurence Pringle’s Th e Secret Life of the Red Fox (Boyds Mills, 2017) or other nonfiction titles to launch a study of this species, or use it as a starting point for discussion of forest habitats and the wintertime web of life.

Making a Friend. by Tammi Sauer. illus. by Alison Friend. HarperCollins. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062278937.
PreS-Gr 2–From stripy socks to a fancy wooden lodge, Beaver is good at making things, but his attempts at making friends always fall flat. On a crisp winter’s day, Beaver is inspired to make a friend a different way—building one from snow—and his efforts soon attract the attention of Racoon. Working together, sharing ideas, and having fun, these two kindred spirits eventually realize that they have made much more than just a snow friend. Action-packed illustrations in warm hues depict endearing animal characters with expressive features. Told from a spot-on childlike perspective, this gentle tale exemplifies friendship basics and enhances social emotion learning.

One Snowy Day. by Diana Murray. illus. by Diana Toledano. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492645863.
PreS-Gr 1–Snowflakes have fallen overnight, providing a frosty landscape to explore and a plethora of winter-themed items to count. After “one playful puppy leaps up with a bark,” two sleepy siblings yawn and stretch, and all three head outdoors for day filled with sledding, snow-play, and smiles. Showing a diverse cast of red-cheeked characters, the mixed-media illustrations have a folksy feel, and provide enchanting visual details for readers to discover while seeking out objects to enumerate from 1 to 10 (and back down again). Sparkling rhymes and spellbinding artwork make this book a solid choice for reinforcing math concepts and celebrating winter.

Small Walt and Mow the Tow. by Elizabeth Verdick. illus. by Marc Rosenthal. S&S. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481466608.
PreS-Gr 2–A tiny but tenacious snowplow and his loyal driver return in another satisfying offering. A “bitter blizzard” has hit town, and Small Walt (S&S, 2017) and Gus load up on ice-melting salt and head to work. When they watch a car slide off a slick road and into a snowy ditch, they quickly realize that they will need help to pull off a rescue. Mo the tow truck and driver Sue are soon on the scene, but it will take plenty of teamwork to keep everyone safe and sound. Charming artwork with a retro zing, tongue-pleasing onomatopoeia, and themes of understanding one’s limits and working together make this fast-paced adventure a standout.

The Snowflake Mistake. by Lou Treleaven. illus. by Maddie Frost. Maverick. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781848863125.
K-Gr 3–Vivacious rhyming text, colorful mixed-media artwork, and a problem-solving protagonist add up to an imaginative snow fairytale with a contemporary feel. In an ice palace floating in the sky, the Snow Queen oversees the assembly-line process of transforming clouds into perfectly formed, identical snowflake, while her less-practical-minded daughter spends her time playing with her bird friends or sliding down rainbows. Left in charge when her mother goes on a business trip, Princess Ellie inadvertently breaks the snowflake machine, but her quick-thinking solution—cutting up clouds by hand to create beautiful and unique snowflakes—ultimately pleases the townsfolk below as well as her mother. Directions for making a paper snowflake are appended. Pair this with Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Snowflake Bentley (HMH, 1998) and Kenneth Libbrecht’s The Secret Life of a Snowflake (Voyageur Pr., 2010) to launch studies of weather and the water cycle.

Winter Is Here. by Kevin Henkes. illus. by Laura Dronzek. HarperCollins. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062747181.
PreS-Gr 2–This companion to When Spring Comes (2016) and In the Middle of Fall (2017, both Greenwillow) once again blends simple yet evocative verses with lovely color-saturated artwork to articulate the sights and sounds, familiar activities, and breathless wonders of a season. The descriptive language and detailed paintings invite readers to meander through the carefully paced story, pausing over and luxuriating in each thoughtful revelation. A snow-swept woodland scene shows how Winter can settle “softly, so softly,” while the next page divulges that it “can be hard, too./Ice covers the pond./The leaves underneath are like stars in glass.” Throughout, a boy, his dog, and their neighbors explore the outdoors, and emphasize the coziness of being inside. Share this tantalizing tale to launch discussion of the changing seasons or inspire students to pen their own winter odes.

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