As the seasons change, reading children's books is a wonderful way to introduce new ideas or reinforce previous learning with your children. While painting pictures inspired by Winter's Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change, we read the book written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. This is a wonderful book full of unique illustrations that tells the story of a young snowshoe hare worrying about Winter.
One of my favorite things about Winter's Coming is the fact that throughout the book you see the snowshoe hare, Lily, changing as winter approaches. Her fur is slowly turning from brown – which helped her hide in the first six months of her life – to white which will help her hide in coming winter.
Animals to Learn More About
The book introduces many animals into the story which can you read more about, either in the back of Winter's Coming or below. As Lily, the snowshoe hare, speaks with the different animals, she learns a bit about each animal and how they are preparing for the arrival of winter – but Lily has no idea what Winter actually is. It is not until Lily speaks with the Black Bear that she learns Winter is a season like Summer. Winter won't fly like the birds or have sticky toe pads like the tree frog – it is a season!
Here are a few of the animals you can study about with your children:
- Snowshoe Hare
- Weighs about two to four pounds
- During the winter, their fur turns white, which helps them camouflage with the snow
- During the spring and summer seasons, their fur is a brown color, which helps them camouflage with the forest floor
- The tips of their ears are black all year round
- Grackle and Red-Winged Blackbird
- Large black birds with long tails and long legs
- Males and females look very similar but males have an iridescent hue to their body and head
- Red Squirrel
- They can be found throughout the United States and prefer living in coniferous forests
- Black Capped Chickadee
- Non-migratory birds and are found year round from New England to the West Coast of the United States
- In warm and tropical areas, they are active year-round
- In cold and temperate areas, they may hibernate
- Gray Tree Frog
- They are 1.25 to 2.25 inches long (depending on if they are male or female)
- They live in much of the Eastern United States
- Woolly Bear Caterpillar
- They have brownish hair in the middle, while black on the front and end segments
- Snapping Turtle (Alligator Snapping Turtle)
- The largest of freshwater turtles
- They are almost exclusively aquatic and can stay under water for as long as 50 minutes without needing air
- Black Bear
- The fur of black bears can range from pure white to brown to very black
- Adult males are larger (weighing as much as 600 pounds) than females (who average around 200 pounds)
How Animals Prepare for Winter's Coming
The book also introduces the many ways in which animals prepare for the coming the new season – winter. Again, there is a handy short guide in the back of the book which discusses migration, hibernation, and other ideas. Winter's Coming's main character finds herself struggling to understand why the animals are doing different things. Through trial and error, Lily learns that she can prepare for winter like the other animals. She can bury herself under leaves like the Woolly Bear Caterpillar or hide in the mud like the snapping turtle. She has her own way of preparing for the winter.
Lily does not need to hibernate in the same way that the Black Bear in the story will during the Winter. So, while the Black Bear will spend time in dens hidden in caves, underground burrows, or other locations where they can be protected from the elements, Lily can be active above ground as her fur changes color.
Create a Winter-Themed Painting
|A tree trunk in the winter|