Monday, December 20, 2010


Snow Friends
by M. Christina Butler and illustrated by Tina Macnaughton

Little Bear cannot wait to go out and have fun in the snow. He does have fun playing in the snow, but he wishes that he could have a friend to play with. Then he decides to make a snowman to be his friend. While Little Bear is rolling the snowball to make the body of the snowman, Otter comes up to find out what he is doing. Then Otter asks if he can help. While making the snowball bigger, the two animals hear a voice coming from under the snowball. When they roll the snowball away, Rabbit pops his head out of a hole and asks to also join in. The three friends work on the head of the snowman, and Rabbit draws a smile on the snowman’s face. Then all three of the animals go home to find something to add to the snowman. What will each animal bring to put on the snowman? Will the animals become each others’ friends? Do the animals think that the snowman should also have a friend?

Time to Sleep
by Denise Fleming

Winter time is here, and bear knows that it is time for many of the animals to go to sleep. First bear tells snail that it is time to sleep. Snail sees that frost has been on the ground and agrees with bear. Snail must tell skunk about winter before he can go to sleep. Skunk also sees signs of winter coming and knows that it is time to sleep, but first he must tell Turtle. Each animal tells the next that winter is coming. Turtle tells Woodchuck, and Woodchuck tells Ladybug. Who will Ladybug spread the new to? Will that animal know yet that winter has come? Will that animal be happy with the news?

The Winter Solstice
by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis

Hundreds of years ago people believed that ghosts, witches, and trolls wandered around the Earth, and a very dangerous time for this was the winter solstice (or the first day of winter). The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and many people believed that the sun may not come back after this night. This was a time when people believed that they had to join together and have ritual and ceremonies to bring back the sun and keep away the bad spirits. Some places, like Stonehenge, were built to mark when the sun would “disappear” and come back. The Romans traded places with their servants, gave each other presents and candles, and brought evergreens into their homes at the time of winter solstice. In the far north, when the first light was spotted after many days of darkness, the people would have a feast of Yuletide where they would burn a Yule log. In northern Europe, people had big bonfires and would place fruit and candles on the empty trees to remind them that spring and summer would come again. Other traditions discussed were those in Peru, Arizona, New Mexico, and the United States. Then the author discusses why the days become shorter in the winter. Finally, the author talks about the traditions that people have now and how they compare to the traditions discussed earlier in the book. There is a solstice story at the end of the book from a Cherokee tale.

The Night the Whole Class Slept Over
by Stella Pevsner

Dan is moving with his family again. This time they are moving to his mother’s home town, and they are going to stay with his grandparents. Dan is tired of moving around. His parents believe that if they keep moving around, one day they will find the perfect place to live, but they do not seem to have found it yet. Dan’s mother tells her parents that they intend to move into a cabin in the middle of nowhere, but her parents are concerned about Dan and his sister Martha. How will they go to school? Dan decides to ask his grandmother to sign him up for school in their town. He hopes that he can convince his parents to let him stay with his grandparents, who he considers much more normal than his parents are. On his first day of school, Dan meets a new friend named Felix. Luckily for Dan, his parents are not having a lot of luck finding the cabin that they were dreaming of. Dan is also enjoying spending time with his grandparents. When he goes over to Felix’s house, he finds out that Felix spends a lot of time alone since his parents work a lot. His parents also had to work during Thanksgiving, so they did not have a family dinner. Dan feels a little sorry for his new friend. On the day of the first snowfall, the children get out early and go play in the snow, but after helping the unpopular girl in class, B.J., Dan ends up on the sidelines feeling like an outsider. The girls, including Amanda, talk him into helping with their “snowwoman,” and he has a good time helping them. Amanda even asks him to help her come up with a design for the snow sculpture for the class for Snowfest, and Dan really does not want to move anymore. His mother, though, seems determined to move. Will Dan’s mother really make them move when no one else really seems to want to? Will Dan be able to keep the new friends that he has made? Will Dan get to enjoy all of the fun of the Snowfest including the sleepover in the library with his class?

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