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Under the Snow (2009)

de Melissa Stewart

Outros autores: Constance R. Bergum (Ilustrador)

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A journey through the fields, forests, ponds and wetlands to see how animals survive in the snowy winter months, and when the sun's rays grow stronger, join all the animals as they get ready for springtime.
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Exibindo 4 de 4
Under the Snow is a book that covers how many different animals survive in the harsh conditions of winter. The text is repetitive and includes detailed illustrations that make it easy for the reader to understand. I read this to my pre-k students they had very little trouble with comprehension. Often, because my students are not yet abstract thinkers, explaining things that are hidden can be a difficult task. This book covers animal behavior during the winter, which involves a lot of “underneath” and “down below”. The illustrations are drawn so the reader can see how the animal is situated under the ground. If the page is about a bug hiding between rocks, the illustration supports the information by having a zoomed in window. I liked having these visuals to support my explanations to their questions.
I used this book not only because it is appropriate being that we've had very cold weather recently, but also because of the math language found in it. There is a lot of “down below”, “under”, “between”, “underneath”... all words and phrases I encourage my students to use. I model the usage of math language all day, every day. It is nice when a book supplements that skill so clearly.
Following the read-aloud, I supplied my students with an open-ended center that included white felt, plastic animal figures, a bucket of cotton, some rocks, and plastic bugs from a board game. I brought the materials to the whole group carpet to offer a few ideas to my students in a whole group mini-lesson. We have talked about hibernation and nocturnal animals, so they did well with coming up with their own activities and scenarios. I have a few students who struggled with the open-ended nature of this center, even after several reminders. I told that group that they either needed to follow the directions (which were explicit and delivered explicitly) or I would have to take away the materials and give them a different activity. I stayed close to this group for a minute or two, then walked away when they seemed capable of working independently. A few minutes later, that group was tossing the cotton balls into the air, which ended their experience promptly. Everyone did well during the read-aloud, but that group struggled with behavior throughout the day. This day was atypical, our school was having a pep-rally in the afternoon and the school was decorated accordingly. The children knew they were not going to take a nap in the afternoon, and we had to play indoors due to the cold weather. Their behavior was nothing abnormal for such a busy day, but I should have known better than to give them such open-ended materials. Looking back, for this group, I should have given them more structure and “how to's” for this center. They would have benefitted from documentation sheets and clipboards, which would have held them responsible for “recording their findings”. I should have sat with them instead of walking away to tend to a different group.
The read-aloud went very well, and the following activities went well for the majority of the class. With the exception of one group's behavior on a very busy day, I would say my students enjoyed the experience.
The only thing I struggled with when reading this book was the inconsistency with dimensions on a few pages. There is a page that illustrates a deer, on top of the snow, nibbling a bush. Beneath the snow, we see a seemingly enormous wood frog in hibernation. Compared to the deer, the frog looks to be the same size. I would say the intention was to show the frog sleeping beneath the snow in the foreground, but my students found it confusing anyways. There is another page that illustrated enormous fish swimming below the surface of a frozen lake. The fish seems to be the size of sharks, which my students also commented on. A very brief explanation was all they needed, and it actually turned into a teaching moment. My example for them was airplanes, and how small they look when we see them in the sky, however, we all know very well that airplanes are very big.
  mdhoward | Feb 26, 2015 |
A natural history picture-book for younger children, Melissa Stewart's Under the Snow chronicles how various species, from ladybugs to bluegills, survive the cold months of winter. With a simple text of no more than two sentences per page, and engaging watercolor illustrations, it follows the "story" of life under the snow - chipmunks snoozing in their burrows, beavers huddling in their lodges, frogs and turtles resting in the mud - highlighting the fact that, even when the world above seems still and quiet, there is abundant life beneath the surface.

Although I would not say that I found this book particularly revelatory, as an adult reader - the information is quite basic - I think that what is there is very well presented, and will probably be quite engrossing for the intended audience. The idea of hidden worlds is always appealing, and never more so than when we are young, and feel that the world itself (the world outside our home) is hidden from us. Just as appealing is Constance R. Bergum's artwork, which ably captures the cold beauty of a world blanketed in snow, and the cozy animal retreats from that world. Highly recommended to younger preschool children with an interest in the natural world, or a love of winter. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 12, 2013 |
Chickadee Nominee 2010-2011

This book talks about what various animals do during the winter, whether it be hibernation or not. I thought it was just okay. I found myself skimming it. ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This nonfiction picture book asks us to think about what's happening under the snow as we go about our winter fun. We see ladybugs huddled in a mass inside a stone wall, a sleeping woodchuck - heartbeats and breathing slowed, and a toad nestled into leaves - frozen solid but still able to survive. The combination of surprising facts, spare text, and realistic watercolors engaged students, grades 1-2.
  scducharme | Dec 3, 2011 |
Exibindo 4 de 4
adicionado por dominirose | editarKids Lit
 

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Melissa Stewartautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bergum, Constance R.Ilustradorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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A journey through the fields, forests, ponds and wetlands to see how animals survive in the snowy winter months, and when the sun's rays grow stronger, join all the animals as they get ready for springtime.

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