Under the Snow
Under the Snow
by Melissa Stewart
Peachtree, 2009
for Ages 4 to 8
ISBN 978-1-56145-493-8
Purchase this book at your local bookseller or Amazon.com.
Where Do Ideas Come From?
VIDEO: Where Do Ideas
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Beneath the Sun
Under the Snow
When Rain Falls
How do animals living in fields and forests, ponds and wetlands survive in the heart of winter? Lyrical language and soft, lovely watercolors introduce readers to a hidden world under the snow.
Listen to this interview about Under the Snow on WICN.
Honors and Awards
Alabama Camellia Book Award Nominee
Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, Outstanding Merit Title
California Eureka! Book Award, Silver Honor
Charlotte Zolotow Award, Highly Commended
Children's Cooperative Book Center Choice
Helena Education Foundation Fabulous First Pick
Junior Library Guild selection
Kansas State Reading Circle Primary Reading List, Top Pick
Maine Chickadee Award nominee
Massachusetts Book Award Finalist
National Science Teachers Association—Children’s Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book
National Science Teachers Association Recommended Title
New Hampshire Ladybug Picture Book Award Nominee
New York State Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List
bullet North Dakota Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award Nominee
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award Nominee Reviews
Society of School Librarians Intl, Best Book, Science
South Carolina Book Award Nominee
South Dakota Prairie Bud Children's Book Award Nominee
Surrey, British Columbia Schools' Book of the Year Nominee
Texas 2 x 2 Reading List
Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee
Research Notes
Festival of Trees
  Christmas tree with ornaments inspired by Under the Snow displayed at the Festival of Trees at the Concord Museum, Concord, MA
“Many authors have written books about hibernation. But I wanted children to know that many animals stay active all winter long—even under the snow. I’d done lots of research and I’d been trying to write the manuscript for a long time. But it just wasn’t coming together for me.

“On a frigid winter night in 2004, I dragged myself out of the house to hear author-illustrator Timothy Basil Ering speak at an event sponsored by the Foundation for Children’s Books. Tim was so engaging, so charismatic, his energy was so contagious that I was inspired to take another stab at my manuscript as soon as I got home. I finished the new draft around 1:00 a.m.,  took it to my critique group meeting the next night, made some changes based on their suggestions, and mailed it to my editor the next day. Six months later, she called to say the book had been accepted for publication. Thank you, Tim!”

[In this] lyrical portrait of the “hidden world” beneath the snow … words and art combine to give readers glimpses underneath the snow—and in some cases under the ground—divulging secrets of survival for many species as they get ready for spring. Many of the facts will wow children … and pique interest to read more. A great companion book for Joyce Sidman’s Song of the Waterboatman and Other Pond Poems (2005), this beautiful picture book will complement the science curriculum and also makes for a great read aloud.
Stewart takes readers on an informative journey, describing how snakes, voles, spotted salamanders, carp, beavers, and red-spotted newts, among other animals, “spend their days” during the winter months. Fascinating facts make the spare text intriguing and fun. Beautiful paintings in muted watercolors convey the creatures in their habitats and the quiet of the season. This pleasing addition is a great read-aloud for units on winter and animal habitats.
... takes readers under the blanket of white to ‘a hidden world’ where ladybugs sleep en masse and voles tunnel from tree to tree, where a wood frog freezes safely solid and bluegills and waterboatmen share frigid waters, where a turtle lies buried in mud and ‘even on the coldest winter days, red-spotted newts dodge and dart, whiz and whirl just below the ice.’ Bergum’s [watercolors] offer cross-sections and magnified details to give readers glimpses of the world beneath the snow. Their precision lends a dignity and beauty even to a sleeping centipede and a barbeled carp. Readers will come away with an appreciation for the adaptability and endurance of the animal world.
“Under the Snow is a quietly beautiful description of the winter existence of animals and fish, including ladybugs, snakes, voles and carp. While children get ready to go sledding and skating and make snowballs, animals, reptiles and insects prepare to wait out the winter in their own ways. Softly glowing watercolor illustrations add texture and depth to this soothing and educational book suitable for ages 4 and up.”
“Ever wonder what happens to bugs, frogs and wild animals in winter? ‘[U]nder the snow lies a hidden world,’ states this lyrical work of nonfiction by Melissa Stewart. Watercolors by Constance Bergum contrast the liveliness of these hidden creatures with the chill landscape above them. The tightly curled woolly bear caterpillar and the barely breathing pond frog seem to pulse with quiet energy. Readers can also find the ladybugs nestled in a stone wall, a vole making snow tunnels and a chipmunk snoozing in its burrow. After sharing this beautiful book, step outside with your child and together imagine the winter creatures around you.”
“This is an ideal tool for integrating inquiry and good literature.”
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