Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Reading 2015 The Big Snow and Other Stories: A Treasury of Caldecott Award-Winning Tales


These stories were probably in the school library when I was in elementary school, but I don't remember them. I've seen and read The Big Snow since then, but not the other two. Each of them has beautiful illustrations, obviously, since they are Caldecott winners and the details in some of the close-up views are remarkable. But they also show wonderful scenes of animals in their habitats. The Big Snow shows all the woodland animals as they prepare for winter by eating, storing food, preparing to hibernate or migrate, or growing a thick fur coat. It also shows two people being kind enough to put out food for the wildlife when the snow covers everything. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo seems as if it will be an Ugly Duckling story, but it is only similar in the way the egg of the little rooster winds up with the duck's eggs. Little Red braves all sorts of dangers when he decides to leave the pond and follow the rooster's call that he hears. As the story follows his journey, we see all the predators that would like to eat him and all the other smaller creatures in the meadow, the woods, and even the farmyard. Unlike the first story, this one mentions a little girl, but no humans actually appear in any of the pictures. The Mighty Hunter is actually the only story in the book that centers on a person. The hunter is actually a young Native American boy who chooses to hide his schoolbooks and practice his hunting skills instead. But as he encounters each animal and pulls back on his bow, the animal offers to lead him to an even bigger animal - one that is more worthy of such a mighty hunter. Young readers will find the lesson he learns very funny.

The three stories together show a variety of habitats and animals, making the book a great stating point for a unit on those topics. Or perhaps just a place for students to pick an animal on which to do a report. But it needn't be used only as the beginning of a lesson, any of the stories would make a wonderful read-aloud and captivate the audience with the lovely illustrations. It is fortunate that another generation of youngsters will be able to enjoy these stories through this collection.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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