We woke this morning to a foot of fresh snow, a perfect day to cozy with a new book, and dream up snowy day delights. The Snowy Nap by Jan Brett, with the return of her beloved character, Hedgie, from The Hat, is fanciful companion for just such days.
Snuggling into this book readers peek into one animal's winter experience as autumn gives way to winter and our woodland friend, Hedgie, decides to “just take a last ramble” before hibernating.
Despite Hedgie's determination for a winter adventure, his eye lids droop heavy, and nature indeed proves there is purpose behind the animal's built in winter nap. Before long he is thankfully rescued from the cold by a farm girl, Lisa, who brings him indoors and tucks him into a tea cozy for warmth.
From the snug safety of Lisa's company and windowsill Hedgie gets to take in the snowy frolics until he is satisfied that he has truly seen winter. Throughout these observations Jan Brett offers her classic illustrated predictions on each page, here including enchanting icicles, snowmen, and sleigh bells.
At peace having finally caught a glimpse of what winter is like, he falls into a deep sleep, and the compassionate Lisa returns him to his burrow, saying sweetly, “You belong in the wild.”
I love how Jan Brett's books lend themselves to detailed predictions, sequencing of events and characters, and deliver a variety of vocabulary, mostly familiar enough to bring young readers along without confusion, yet peppered with exciting words too causing children to pause, wonder, and ask about a new word. The Snowy Nap is no exception.
As a read aloud really any age could benefit, for activities and partner reading ages four to eight seem just right for this tale. This could be apart of learning about Animals in Winter and Hibernating, as a fictional partner to real science comparing and contrasting events, a reader's theater acting out each animal's part for PreSchool/Kinder where the children get to design the animal costumes and set integrating art and problem solving into their oral language development, and of course, read alongside The Hat, Hedgie's breakthrough role.
For a few other ideas on this book or to build an author study it's worth a visit Jan Brett's webpage (here), like many authors, her website offers some interesting information.
"Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver