Winter Wonderland Kids Reading List

Jan 1, 2017 | Kids Books | 0 comments

It’s that time of the year again. The time of year that dread.

Winter.

Ugh.

If you are a Canadian like me, you know that we are in it for the long haul.  Maybe you love winter.  I wish I could share your enthusiasm. I could never joyfully say “Hooray it’s winter!”.

Actually that’s not entirely true.  One of my favourite things about motherhood is finding childlike joy in everything.  This includes winter.  Now that I see it through their eyes – I do see the most wonderful thinks about it:

  • gently falling snow to watch outside your window
  • the soft silence
  • darker days & more snuggle time indoors
  • hot chocolate and fuzzy socks
  • reading this list with your kids

Just try to ignore the snow shoes and boots and mittens and taking 8 hours to leave the house . . .

Snow

by Manya Stojic

Children's Books - Snow by Manua Stojic

A gang of forest animals prepare for the winter when they smell snow in the air. Owl ruffles her feathers and states that snow is in the air. Canadian geese, a moose, a bear, a hare and her bunnies, and a fox must get ready for the winter.

What do we learn?  

The bear must get ready to sleep, that the geese will fly south and that bunnies change their fur and blend in with the snow.

Why I Like it:

Lilting text and bright illustrations show George what happens to animals in the winter. A simple introduction to hibernation, migration and camoflauge.

Red Sled

by Lita Judge

Children's Books - Red Sled by Lita Judge

I  love these books of few text where we get to make up the story ourselves. The Red Sled is a delightful story about a little girl (or boy) who leaves her/his red sled outside when he goes to sleep. Through the night, a bear discovers the sled and eventually an entire group of woodland creatures delight in racing down the hill. In the morning, the little boy/girl sees the paw prints leading from the sled and wonders what went on. The end is cute and surprising.

What do we learn?

That everyone wants to sled down a hill in the winter.

Why I like it:

I love it because it evokes the feelings I had for winter as a child. It always makes me think of racing down the ice slide the local park had built at Assiniboine Park with my own red sled. I’m hoping that I can refer to this book when it comes time to take George sledding – if the snow ever comes to Toronto!!!! We are having a lackluster winter. The rest of Canada is knee deep in the white stuff, including Vancouver, whereas we’ve had only one opportunity to get out our sled and it’s already February.

Children's Books - Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler

You know Axel Scheffler very well if you have read any Julia Donalsdon books (LINK) (which you should read because I love them all). You can recognize his illustrations in a heartbeat.

He is the only credit on this series from the publishing house Nosy Crow which means it was written in-house. I always feel that if a book is simply mass-produced and written by a non-credited author is must be terrible. But that isn’t the case here. Everything we get from Nosy Crow we highly enjoy – I seek out many books from this publisher.

Not to say Pip & Posy are the best written books, but they are so lovlingly illustrated and are perfect example of picture walking books for littles (as in kids can read the pictures).

What do we learn?

To be kind to our friends.

Why I like it:

George has a best friend who is a little girl. So he can understand that sometimes Pip & Posy fight, like George & Ellie, or that Pip helps Posy or that Posy teaches something to Pip. Especially in The Snowy Day when Pip & Posy have such a huge disagreement that they throw snow at each other and cry. Because George sees how sad it makes each of them, he realizes that pushing his best friend Ellie will make her upset.

Love Matters Most

by Mij Kelly & Gerry Turley

Children's Books - Love Matters Most by Mij Kelly & Gerry Turley

There are so many books featuring bears. I feel that most books feature bears. Why is that? I mean I love bears but it’s hilarious when you think that some of these bears would eat George in a heartbeat. That being said, the term mama bear is a MANTRA for a reason. A mama bear is fiercely protective and loves her young, just like a human mama and the mama in this book.

Mama bear leaves the safety and coziness of her den to venture out into the cold on a dark Arctic night. She passes all these things of wonder: northern lights, bright red berries, and salmon jumping in the cold water –  all the time searching out for something.

What could be so important to her that she leaves her home and passes by all the enchanting things she encounters? Her baby cub of course! Who is lost and needs his mummy.

What do we learn?

That no one loves you like your mummy.  SO GO CALL HER!

Why I like it:

It’s just a sweet story with gorgeous illustrations.

George is always very concerned about the mama bear (he is always very concerned about mama bears in all of our stories) and is very happy with the baby finds her. So far he hasn’t figured out that she is looking for her baby not the other way around as he believes.

I would categorize this in one of our cozy, bedtime reads when I reiterate to my children my fierce love for them. Plus it also shows the aurora borealis which has intrigued George so we <clearly> need to go up north to see them.

No Two Alike

by Keith Baker

Children's Books - No Two Alike by Keith Baker

I absolutely love this book. It’s about two best friend red birds who are very similar but not exactly alike. They venture out on one winter afternoon seeing things that are almost, almost but not quite alike: snowflakes, nests, feathers, other woodland creatures.

I’m not sure George has quite grasped the concept – this book has made me realize that it’s a hard concept to teach. The lesson is lovely especially in todays crazy world. I want my kids to see that people, like the little birds, are the same in so many ways but have little differences in the colour of our skin or what we believe in.

What do we learn?

That we have more similarities than differences.

Why I like it:

Everyone is special and their differences don’t separate them. Maybe I’m reading too much into the simple text but I think this book has great lessons on tolerance at several levels.

Waiting for Snow

by Marsha Diane Arnold

Children's Books - Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold

This adorable little book is perfect for the current winter Toronto is having. I feel like I’ve been waiting for snow since November.

Badger is <im>patiently waiting for the snow and his little friend Hedgehog keeps reminding him to be patient: snow always comes just like the sun always rises. Along with a cute little troupe of characters like possum, skunk and rabbit – the forest friends come up with different tricks to bring on the snow. As soon as they’ve tired themselves out, the snow arrives, just like Hedgehog said it would.

What do we learn?

Patience and waiting.  And that the snow will always come.

Why I like it:

The illustrations are so delightful and the lesson of patience is something almost all of need in my household.

You Make Me Smile

by Layn Marlow

Children's Books - You Make Me Smile by Layn Marlow

When I first started reading this, I thought it was in the voice of the little girl excited for the first snow or her parents, but quickly realized it was a snowman telling the story.  Of course – silly me!  It is kids, after all, that give life to a snowman each time it snows.  Remember that ad that played before movies for a while?  The one where the girl stored her snowman in the fridge over the summer and would sit and watch movies with him?  The one that made you sob like a baby everytime you saw it?  Or was that just me?  It was called Lily & the Snowman and you can watch it here.

Anyways, this book reminds me of that commercial.  The bonds of friendship, the waiting through the seasons.  The anticipation of snow and winter.

What did we learn?

That I am a sucker for snowmen stories.  Oh and that the bonds of friendship are strong.

Why I like it:

It was sweet for George to discover what made the snowman smile and he immediately wanted to go build a snowman.

Polar Bear Night & Polar Bear Morning

by Lauren Thompson and Stephen Savage

Children's Books - Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson
Children's Books - Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson

 

Two separate books for two different parts of the day.  One for saying good night and one for saying good morning (pretty self-explanatory).  I love many of Lauren Thompson books for their simplicity and gentle storylines.  In this duo, little polar bear walks and discovers the joys of both times of the day.

What did we learn?

About different times of the day and about arctic animals.

Why I like it:

Stephen Savage is a great illustrator who uses different shades of one colour to make pages that stand out as bright and clear.  I love how little polar bear explores on his own and makes discoveries about the animals that share his home.  The night one is perfect for slowing George’s energy down as we focus on the night around our own home and who might be sleeping.

Children's Books - Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na

Il Sung Na has a lovely and truly unique illustrating style. We have his “Book of Sleep” which explores how different animals sleep at night. In this one, it’s how different animals prepare for winter. From the rabbit who changes her fur, to geese that fly south, and to sheep that keep their wooly coat – just to name a few. All the animals know that when the snow has melted spring has arrived – including the rabbit who is now brown.

What did we learn?

About the changing of the seasons and how animals adapt to colder/warmer weather.

Why I like it:

I really love the illustrations and bright, exciting colours. I also think the story is a great primer to winter and how we all get ready for the cold months ahead. George and I talked about what we need in the winter to keep warm just like our animal friends.

The Reader

by Amy Hest and Lauren Castillo

Children's Books -The Reader by Amy Hest

This is a lovely story about a boy and his dog. I don’t always love the text but the story itself is wonderful.

It’s a snowy day and a boy takes his dog, his suitcase and his red sled for a walk. The dog chases his tail, a blue jay and a bunny before racing to the top of the hill where he waits patiently. When the boy gets to the top of the hill, the duo play making snow angels and a snow dog. Finally, the boy opens his suitcase and takes out a book that he reads to his dog. And then of course the two race home on the red sled.

What did we learn?

About the bonds of friendship. 

Why I like it:

It showcases everything we love about winter and makes you wish for a red sled and a snowstorm. The love between the boy and the dog is also really sweet. I only wish my dogs had this relationship with George!

Snow

by Sam Usher

Children's Books - Snow by Sam Usher

Little Sam is dying to get out of his house for first tracks in the newly fallen snow but must wait for Grandad to get ready.  He watches at other kids, dogs and even zoo animals stomp past his house before they are both ready to go outside.  When they finally do, they discover a wonderful snow party at the park where Grandad is the best snowball maker/thrower around.

What did we learn?

Patience and anticipation.

Why I like it:

First it’s British so the Anglophile in me loves the London architecture and the Grandad sipping his tea.  I also liked how it totally captured the spirit of that painful waiting kids have to do while the adults get ready (Christmas morning anyone?).  Not to mention how Usher captured the fun of a snow day and  got pretty creative with the animals that had fun at the park.

Fun fact:  Sam Usher just published another instalment of this series Rain – we just ordered it from the library!

Happy Reading,

Curious in Wonderland

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