December Children's Reads: Hibernation Stories

December is the perfect time to share hibernation books with your children. The seasons are finally changing, as we start to bundle up, and animals prepare for their long winter nap. Below are some picture books great for younger children-- from toddler to kindergarten.

Over and Under The Snow by Kate Messner is a story about a girl and her father cross-country skiing through the forest, and all the animals that are asleep under the snow. Over the snow, some animals stay awake, but under the snow some animals doze through the winter. This book is illustrated by award-winner Christopher Silas Neal, and his art fits perfectly with the beautiful, simple text. In the back of the book, the author’s note has a lot of fun information to share, as well as information about the animals in the book.

In Kevin Henkes’ book, Old Bear, Old Bear sleeps through the winter dreaming about being a bear cub, the things he loves, and his home. As always, Henkes shares a simplistic story with his simple, yet lovely, illustrations that everyone has come to love. This is a great book to share with younger children because it also talks about bear looking forward to the next season, spring, when the bear wakes up.

“I smell winter in the air,” said Bear, in Denise Fleming’s Time to Sleep. The book tells the story of different animals telling each other it is time for sleep and hibernation as winter is coming. This book uses different animals, besides a bear, which is nice, as it opens the discussion to which animals hibernate versus which animals do not hibernate. Fleming’s illustrations are classic, like her other books, where she uses stencils and pours colored cotton pulp through them, making handmade paper.

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Felder is a non-fiction read and is part of the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series. It is a simple read for young listeners and readers and answers questions about what certain animals do during winter. The illustrations are simple and do not take away from the text, which is also not overbearing. This book even shares ideas on how to share food with animals in the winter, which can lead to a fun at-home project for families.

Michelle Meadows brings us Hibernation Station, a fun rhyming book that teaches children what it’s like to hibernate in the winter. Various animals arrive on the hibernation station train as they prepare for their great winter sleep. The text is entertaining, as are the bright illustrations. This book takes a concept and makes it simple and entertaining for young readers.