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A Wintertime Read Aloud + A Giveaway

A review copy of the book Over and Under the Snow was provided by Chronicle Books.

One of the little words I’ve been thinking about adopting as my One Little Word for 2012 is wonder.  Wonder, as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:

1won·der

noun \ˈwən-dər\

Definition of WONDER

1
a : a cause of astonishment or admiration : marvel <it’s a wonder you weren’t killed> <the pyramid is a wonder to behold> b : miracle
2
: the quality of exciting amazed admiration

3

a : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Perhaps it’s because I want to experience life with the same amazement and awe my daughter has when she delights in something new or fascinating that I am drawn to a new book by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal.  Their book, Over and Under the Snow, is a delightful picture book perfect for this time of the year.  While you and I can see and delight in what we see over the snow, we usually don’t give much thought to what happens under the layers of snow that blanket much of this country during the wintertime.  This book invites readers to wonder about what lies beneath the snow while picturing what life might be like down there.

The book follows the adventure of a boy and his father who ski over the snow.  While they’re skiing they notice a red squirrel disappear down a crack under the snow.  From that point on, the book details the father and son’s journey over the snow while delighting readers with all of the things that are simultaneously happening under the snow.  Readers quickly learn about a whole other fascinating world that lies underneath the white snow that covers the ground.  Here’s a peek at a couple of the interior spreads so you can see the “over the snow” and “under the snow” pattern in which the book is written:

© 2011 Christopher Silas Neal from the book Over and Under the Snow used by permission of Chronicle Books
© 2011 Christopher Silas Neal from the book Over and Under the Snow used by permission of Chronicle Books

As a teacher of writing, there are many uses for this book.  First, if your students are writing books with predictable patterns, then you can mentor them after Messner’s “over the snow” and “under the snow” pattern which is seen on nearly all of the book’s (just not the first two or the final two) pages.  Second, there are text features, such as italics, boldface, and print that doesn’t always fall in a straight line (see first page spread above). For instance, the word “leaps” (not pictured above) is written in larger font on one of the pages.  The text of the word “leaps” is arranged in a way that makes it look like the word is jumping over something.  If you want to encourage your students to play with the physical way they place their words on the page, then this book is sure to become their mentor.  Third, the book contains rich tier two vocabulary, which will encourage young writers to stretch themselves in their own writing after they examine the prose in this book.

Finally, the author’s note offers an explanation for what happens under the snow and introduces readers to the animals they meet in the book.  There’s also a short book list that points readers to other titles where they can learn more about animals in the winter.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • A special thank you to Chronicle Books for sponsoring a giveaway of one copy of Over and Under the Snow for one of our readers who resides in the U.S.A. or Canada.
  • To win a copy of the book please leave a comment about this post, in the comments section of this post by Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. A random drawing will take place on Sunday, January 8th and the winner’s name will be announced in a blog post later that day.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address and have my contact at Chronicle send the book out to you.  Please note: Your e-mail address will not be published online.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

101 thoughts on “A Wintertime Read Aloud + A Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. This book will definitely be added to my list of mentor texts. Being new to writer’s workshop, I am constantly on the lookout for enriching texts to share with my kids.

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  2. So many of my Twitter friends have been buzzing about this book! I love the perspective of life under the snow. This will certainly appeal to the natural curiosity of children. This sounds like a great mentor text that can be used in a multitude of ways. Thanks!

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  3. When I saw this book, I immediately thought about a parallel book – over/under – for my class to write. My students are crazy about animals so the interest level will be great. Thanks for sharing.
    Mary

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  4. I love the combination of a fictional story with science content! And deliberate teaching of different text features is so important. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. You’ve given me quite a few ideas to start off the writing class. Especially like your identification of the text features as a way to make words more powerful. Thank you!

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  6. I just discovered this book as well. It reminds me of the classic Owl Moon – so much potential for reading and writing connections. This will definitely be in the running for the 2012-2013 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award list!

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  7. This will be a great addition to my mentor text library. Its powerful verbs and use of onomatopoeia will support vocabulary development. I also like the soothing blue and gray color tones in the illustrations.

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  8. Love your blog and that you update it so much! I found you over the Christmas break and have enjoyed every post! So thrilled to have a blog with fresh and engaging ideas for writing! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

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  9. Over and Under the Snow – What an inspiration for 3rd grade authors of personal narratives…a unique way to share a special experience with dad without even being aware of the “world down under”…

    I have 99% decided that my one little word for 2012 will be AWARE…so much taken for granted in our world…so much to learn and so much to embrace!

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  10. I just love Kate Messner. Everything she touches is gold. I am so glad that she ventured into non fiction type books this year. I have not gotten the chance to read this book but have heard wonderful things. Thank you for the giveaway! Oh, wonder would be a great OLW.

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  11. I borrowed this book from the library, but I’d love a copy for my classroom. It’s a lovely book, poetic, and the information it holds is interesting. The illustrations really complement the story. It’s perfect all around.

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  12. This book sounds like a great book to use for its potential as a mentor book for writing and also for the connections it holds about what it means to share the same space with the animals who inhabit the space under the snow. I know my grade 2 students would be fascinated by this story. It would almost be like getting two stories in one book. Lovely!

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  13. I think “wonder” is a perfect word for the new year and such a powerful word to use with children, both in writing and in understanding new information in school and in the world. A perfect sentence stem to teach to children (and to unlock the mind). This book demonstrates the word “wonder” in such a visual and specific way. What great ideas in using this book to teach writing strategies! Something I can use next Monday. Thank you.

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  14. In a few weeks I will be snowmobiling in Montana (for the first time!) and certainly will be wonderind what’s happening under the snow! I would love to share this book with my class!

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  15. My students would love this book and it would be a great mentor text for them to use to stretch their thinking about pairing two different perspectives: sports (game vs. sidelines), government/wars/disagreements, or even school…I can see many possibilities for using this in upper el/ Looks wonderful!

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  16. First, let me thank you for your “one little word” idea. I’m thinking my word should be “balance.” That covers just about everything from what I eat to work vs. home life. Secondly, what a wonderful book! We are just about to start out “Winter Creative Writing” unit. This book would be a gret inspiration for my students!

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  17. I love the idea of using children’s books in my high school Biology class. Ecology seems to have a greater selection. This is a wonderful book for my English Language Learners as an introduction. Thank you for the reference!

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  18. What a great addition to a resource list for winter animals. Totally aligns with the science learning outcomes for grade 2 in British Columbia. Thanks for sharing!

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  19. I simply LOVE the entire idea of this book, especially as a fan of winter and all things snow related! I notice how much the 2nd graders in my class enjoy blended genre books. Thanks for all the mentor text ideas!

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  20. This would be a great addition to my picture books. My 6th graders love for me to read picture books. I use picture books to teach many concepts/ skills in ELA and create writing prompts. Awesome book to teach lessons for life-universal theme.

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  21. What a great book idea! I love the couple of pages that you shared. My girls absolutely love animal books – we have many informational books and they check out more from the library as well. They would be so fascinated by this topic.

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  22. This book would be a great addition to a writing teacher’s library for all the wonder-ful ideas that have been presented in your review and in the posts that follow. Thanks for this opportunity!

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  23. What a lovely book! Children are in such a natural state of wonder and curiosity. I agree that this would be a great mentor text to start the new year!

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  24. WOULD LOVE TO RETURN TO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK WITH THAT BOOK! KIDS TODAY DO NEED WONDER. IT WOULD BE A GREAT GIFT TO GIVE THEM IN MY FINAL YEAR OF TEACHING! #33! (THAT IS WONDER IN ITSELF. WHERE DID THE TIME GO?)

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  25. I teach older students and think the concept of investigating what is below the surface (in characters, in ideas, etc,)would be easier to teach with this book, too. Thanks for sharing it.

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  26. Last year we did a Unit of Study in 5th grade focused on hybrid books like this one. It was amazing and wonderful to see how the kids were choosing just the right book to use as a mentor based both on their own topic and their own strengths as writers and illustrators. Thinking about what is hidden beneath the surface is also a great concept to explore on many levels…

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  27. I love Kate Messner’s books and definitely want to get this book for my classroom along with her new chapter book “Eye of the Storm”. My class skyped with her last year and it was a wonderful experience that they will always remember.

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  28. I will have to get a copy of this for my school library. It would be nice to win it, but one way or another, I think I will be adding this book to our collection.

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  29. What a great word of the year…wonder! I need that childlike wonder back! Love the premise of the book. My coastal Georgia students would love a snow book…something many haven’t experienced!

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  30. I’ve tried to get this book, but everyone is sold out, which is great for Kate Messner, but frustrating for me. You’ve made me want it even more, Stacey! Thanks for showing some of the pages & offering more ideas for using it.

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  31. I’ve just recently been looking at this book on-line, so winning it would be a plus! I think kids would love this. I know I am intrigued by what is underground.

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  32. Thanks for sharing this book and suggesting ways to use it to spark writing. My sixth graders love when I read picture books and use them to prompt writing. Another book that has a pattern I like is “That’s Good, That’s Bad”. (I can’t figure out how to underline title here!)

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  33. What a great book for integrating science, math, reading and writing! In Kindergarten we study animals that hibernate, position words, as well as learning the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

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  34. I’ve already ordered a copy on Amazon as there are so many interesting and exciting qualities of this book mentioned in the post! As a skier and lover-of-winter, I love it asthetically. As a mentor text, I can see mini lessons and discussions on placement of print, prediction, predictable text, wonderings. As a science teacher, it could lead to investigations of snow, plants and wildlife. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Now, if only we had real snow in my neck of the woods! – Lisa

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  35. These are great ideas you have provided! I could also see using the book for examining prepositions and their powerful place in writing. The students could add pages ( in between) … Around the bend.. Inside the tree.

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  36. I love this idea for a book. Living in Arizona, we don’t often consider snow and all that happens under it. This will be a great way to further reinforce the concept of the winter season. Thank you for an amazing book.

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  37. We do a unit of study on pattern books in first grade, and this would be a perfect addition to our collection of mentor texts!

    I love your reasoning for picking “wonder” as your one little word. I think mine will be gratitude. I have much to be grateful for, including wonderful family and friends and blogs like this one that provide me with so much useful information, so much to wonder about!

    Thank you to you and Ruth for so much inspiration! Wishing you both the happiest of New Years!

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