For young minds curious about winter, 3 picture books – The Virginian-Pilot

Now that winter has fully arrived, there are big questions that don’t stop being asked until the robins are singing and the daffodils are blooming. How cold will it get? How long will winter last? Will it snow? (And better yet — will it snow on a school day?)

These three wintry picture books revel in the excitement and chill of the season.

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“The Winter Bird” by Kate Banks, illustrated by Suzie Mason. (Ages 3 through 7. Candlewick Press. $18.99.)

A nightingale with an injured wing watches mournfully as other birds migrate, wondering how it will survive the winter. “‘What will happen to me?’ it sang sorrowfully. ‘I am a spring bird.’ “

But this spring bird has friends — owls and rabbits and squirrels — who promise to help as “little by little the cold [creeps] in on icy feet.”

In time, the nightingale learns to appreciate the glory of a snow-covered landscape, as well as the joy of spring arriving at long last.

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“So Much Snow” by Kristen Schroeder, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby. (Ages 3 through 7. Random House Studio. $18.99.)

The joyful watercolor and pastel illustrations of “So Much Snow” capture the delight of the first flakes of a snowstorm and, day by day, the way the snow piles, drifts and blows. “On Sunday, the end of the snow. Brilliant blanketing. So much snow! When will it go?”

Like all good things, of course, snow doesn’t last forever, and soon enough the fluffy, friendly animals are celebrating the arrival of something new: “Trees budding, birds singing, everyone’s springing.”

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“Groundhog Gets It Wrong” by Jess Townes, illustrated by Nicole Miles. (Ages 3 through 5. Dial. $18.99.)

Sure, it’s Groundhog’s first year to make a Groundhog Day prediction, and his fans are gazing at the snowy ground and wondering if winter will ever quit.

“But he wasn’t worried. He was a groundhog, after all, and groundhogs know weather.” So Groundhog announces the end of winter, a spring festival is planned … and icy mayhem results.

He’s tempted to give up — but then he has a revelation: “Maybe predicting the weather wasn’t a piece of carrot cake, but he could learn.”

A little study, a little practice, a little humility, and Groundhog is on firmer ground in his predictions about snow, ice and other wintry delights. (As the book reminds us, the real Punxsutawney Phil is right less than half the time, “and as far as we know, he’s never attended a single meteorology class.”)

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Caroline Luzzatto has taught preschool and fourth grade. Reach her at luzzatto.bookworms@gmail.com

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