nonfiction nuggets…who’s hiding under the snow?

Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal

The pristine woods are blanketed with snow, white folds softening every bend of land, delicate flakes dusting each twig.  As one little girl and her dad ski through this fairyland, they notice signs of animals everywhere.

Despite the cold, some animals are up and about.  An owl watches from a branch;  a rabbit crouches under a snowy bough; deer tracks show where they’ve walked.  Along with the two skiers, this group of animals live “over the snow.”

Down beneath the snow, though, there’s a whole secret kingdom where many other small animals skitter and sleep, nibble and huddle.  Deer mice snuggle together, voles patter about, beavers gnaw on tasty twigs, frogs snooze.  Such an amazing, icy world they inhabit, while they wait out the cold, dark days!

As the young girl glides through the woods, enjoys a bonfire and some cocoa, and finally crawls under her own blanket, we learn about the many different ways animals spend the winter, both over and under the snow.  An Author’s Note follows, with a great deal more information about the “subnivean zone” underneath the snow, with a short section detailing the habits of each animal we’ve met.  Quite fascinating!  The text is short and accessible to children as young as 4, while the added information will intrigue those who are early-elementary age.

Christopher Neal’s gorgeous mixed media illustrations are crisp, graphic design scenes of pale birches reaching into icy-gray skies, white winter wonderlands dotted with a set of cherry-red hat-scarf-and-mittens, and large and small animals tucked in mysterious hidey-holes.  The whole effect is one of frozen loveliness and wonder.  This is a captivating book to share with small, curious people!

Here’s the Amazon link  :Over and Under the Snow