Author: Kate Messner Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Age Level: 4-8 years
Publishers: Chronicle Books
A feast for the eyes, Over and Under the Snow explores the mysteries in the hidden world under the snow. It is an excellent addition to the ‘animals in winter’ theme. Over and Under the Snow is an ALA Notable book and a New York Times Notable Children’s Picture Book.
If you’ve ever taken a walk into the woods with a young child and spent time observing and answering questions, you will instantly identify with this book. A little girl goes skiing with her dad after a fresh bout of snowfall. She sees a red squirrel disappear under a crack and wonders where it went. From there starts a series of discoveries that keep readers (children and adults) enthralled.
As a parent and teacher I thought I had plenty of information about how animals survive in winter. It is a pleasure to learn more along with our children. I learned that the space between the ground and the snow cover is called the Subnivean Zone, and that the queen bumblebee hibernates in the soil!
The illustrations are simply gorgeous. My five year old quickly caught on to the perspective—“It looks like we are on the tree just like the owl. We are looking down at the little girl…” There is enough detail on each page, but the colors keep it from being overwhelming.
For teachers, this book is a wonderful resource. In the Author’s Note, Kate Messner gives more information about the animals and provides a list of books and interesting websites. Additional sources of information that help you be prepared for a classroom full of curious 5 and 6-year-olds are always welcome.
After reading this book, my five year old can’t wait for winter. She has been very curious about all the animals that may hide under the snow in the woods behind our house. I am looking forward to new discoveries with her!