STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Books that celebrate a changing season

Fall is such a season of change. We go from brilliant leaves splashed against blue sky to bare limbs – sometimes covered with snow. Here are two books that celebrate the changing season.

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter, by Kenard Pak

32 pages; ages 3-6. Henry Holt BYR, 2017

Two children walk through field and farm and town, as the season changes from fall to winter. They greet animals, trees, and birds as they pass. Cardinals and robins reply that they are ready to fly south. Clouds cover the sky; icicles reply that their job is to decorate the eaves of houses.

What I like about this book: it is a quiet, gentle passage from one season to the next. We see the children walking through different neighborhoods: a hillside, a rural road, the city street. Everywhere they go, they observe how the season is changing, and how the animals and plants are adapting to the coming cold. I admit to saying hello to woolly bears I come across while raking leaves – but unlike the tree frogs, my woolly bears don’t seem to say much. Or if they are, I am not attuned to hearing their language. I like that the children are observing nature in the town and in a city. This reinforces that nature is everywhere, not something “out there”. And I like Ken’s artwork. It is full of texture and you can “see” the leaves blowing across the page.

Winter Dance, by Marion Dane Bauer; illus. by Richard Jones

40 pages; ages 4-7. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

“Winter is coming,” says the fox. “What should I do?” To figure it out, fox sets off to see what other animals do to survive winter. Birds fly south (I can’t do that, says fox); turtles dive to the bottom of a pond and dig into the mud.  (Definitely Not For Fox!).

What I like about this book: It’s a fun quest, because who doesn’t want to know what other people/animals do when snow is on its way. I like seeing the world through the point of view of a fox. And I like the idea of foxes dancing to celebrate winter.

Note from the bug girl (me): As fun as this book is, curious young naturalists will want to further investigate behavior of “woolly caterpillars” they come across. In our area, the woolly caterpillars people see most are “Woolly Bears”, larvae of the Isabella moth. Woolly bear caterpillars find a cozy place under leaves or hay mulch where they curl up and hibernate until spring. You can read more about them here and at Naturally Curious. White “woolly” caterpillars (tussock moths) overwinter in the egg stage.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some Beyond-the-Book activities.

STEM Friday

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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