Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Will He or Won't He: Picture Books For Groundhog Day

I've really never gotten the whole groundhog craze in February.  I mean what kind of logic is it when the groundhog sees his shadow (sunshine, right) and that means 6 more weeks of winter?  Then if he doesn't see his shadow (no sunshine) spring is coming?  There's just no logic in that.  Just sayin'.

Well, here in Ohio it looks like we're going to celebrate Groundhog Day with our usual mix of weather.  We're going to have everything from snow to rain to snow.  Gotta love it.  What profound information will the groundhog pass along?  Honestly, at least for us, we're going to have everything from spring weather to bitter cold in the next six weeks.  It's Ohio.

For those of you who like the excitement of speculation, however, we have the groundhog predictions to anticipate.  The great thing about Groundhog Day in Ohio is we can choose the groundhog we want to believe.  There's "THE" groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, who will give his opinion on the days of cold left in our world.  Of course, if we don't like his answer, we can turn to our own Buckeye Chuck.  These two do not always see eye-to-eye or shadow-to-shadow.

All kidding aside, I'll have to do what every primary teacher in our area will do.  We'll predict the outcome (looks like I better put a poll on our blog since we're iced in for the day) and then read a few groundhog books.  Looking for the perfect groundhog literature (oh, I know you are)?  Here are a few of my favorite groundhog lit pics:

Go To Sleep, Groundhog! written by Judy Cox and illustrated by Paul Meisel is a story of a groundhog who can't quite get to sleep.  He wakes up throughout his rest to catch bits of holidays he normally sleeps right through.  Finally, he falls into a deep sleep.  As is often the case, the alarm goes off too soon.  Groundhog is still sleepy, but decides to go outside to see what is happening.  Will he see his shadow?  There is a repetitive pattern to this story which students always enjoy.  You'll also find an information piece at the end of the book about Groundhog Day and other animals that predict the weather around the world.

What happens when groundhog decides he doesn't want to go to sleep?  In Groundhog Stays Up Late written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Jean Cassels, Groundhog refuses to get ready for winter.  Unlike his friends, he doesn't gather food or prepare his place for a long winter nap.  He decides he is going to stay up all winter.  It isn't long until Groundhog decides he is lonely without all of his friends who are hiding away for the cold days.  He decides to play a trick on his friends and tell them spring is coming early.  Would you wake a hibernating bear?  See what happens when Groundhog does just that.

Can a girl be Punxsutawney Phil?  Maybe Phyllis can.  In Wake Up, Groundhog!  written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, Phyllis loves spring.  With all of her heart Phyllis dreams of being the next Punxsutawney Phil.  Her family reminders her that a girl cannot do that job.  She thinks she can.  This story shares the excitement of spring and the hope of making a difference.  You'll also find information about Groundhog Day at the end of this book.

For those of you now wishing you had a large collection of groundhog books, you'll find more titles here.

Here's hoping spring is on the way!


  1. A couple of new books for me, love your humor on the whole idea of the groundhog tradition. I joke that teaching kdg. every other day is like being in the Groundhog Day movie. Now to get my books out of the basement to read with the girls on our day off.

  2. Love your humor! I've often thought the same, its Ohio, it's going to be cold for 6 weeks regardless. Thanks for sharing books! While I am surprised to see these books coming from you, I love hearing about new books! Mandy I wish my girls were still young enough to appreciate me reading to them! Enjoy!!

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  4. Mandy,
    So glad to hear only every OTHER day is like the Groundhog Day movie. I'm glad I was able to share a few new titles with you. You always send such good books my way. Enjoy your day off (again).


    I was hoping the humor would come off. It's always so much harder to pull off humor in print. You probably caught it because you are so used to listening to me. How could I not have a few Groundhog Day books? lol Stop on over to borrow them.


  5. For those of you waiting on the outcome of the groundhog awakening, Punxsutawney Phil and Buckeye Chuck agree that spring is coming early. They didn't see their shadows....imagine that. I'm not as optimistic as they are.

  6. I just love seasonal books. Great suggestions. My class loves Punxsutawney Phyllis as well. It gives the girls some power. :)