Happy solstice! Winter has officially arrived, and, with it, nature’s invitation to cozy up, slow down, and get some rest. As this fall has transitioned into winter, I have been thinking about dormancy and other ways the natural world shifts into a lower gear for the winter. One of my favorite children’s nonfiction books of 2022 taught me quite a bit on this subject.
Hiders Seekers Finders Keepers: How Animals Adapt in Winter is a lovely primer on all the changes we notice if we slow down and look. Bright, colorful illustrations show a father and child out for a walk, enjoying nature all around them on a winter day. The simple but vivid main text describes three common ways that animals adapt in winter: dormancy, migration, and physical adaptations.
Preschoolers will appreciate the basic overview offered by the main text and illustrations, and older children and grownups will enjoy the more in-depth, scientific information offered in fact boxes throughout the book. There are endless details to notice in each spread and endless questions to be asked. This is a book you can really take your time with—good practice for our real-life adventures outside.
I knew this book was a winner when I read it to a storytime group, and one child announced that we’re just like animals. Sure enough, amidst descriptions of critters that have adaptations to help them survive the winter, we see our human father and child bundled in thick coats, keeping close to family, and eating food they’ve stored away—just like the animals. I’m fond any book that can remind us of this simple fact.
If you’re looking for more on this subject, the following books also help readers of any age understand different forms of dormancy, notice seasonal changes in the landscape, and, hopefully, get inspired to slow down and rest as well:
Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature by Marcie Flinchum Atkins
Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story by Sean Taylor, Alex Morss and Cinyee Chiu