What’s Under the SNOW?

Inside: A book review of Under the Snow, plus 12 different links, ideas and downloads.

We’ve been doing a winter unit AND it snowed here in sleepy Victoria, so I’m going to feature yet another snow book. Hope you don’t mind, but I forgot how many great ones I have in my collection.

Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart. Book review AND 12 fabulous follow-up activities for first grade!

Under the Snow
Written by: Melissa Stewart
Illustrations by: Constance R. Bergum
Publishing: Peachtree Publishers, 2009,
Suitable for Ages: 4 to 8
Themes/Topics: Non-Fiction, Snow, Winter, Animals, Nature

Opening: “In the heart of winter, a deep layer of snow blankets fields and forests, ponds and wetlands. You spend your days sledding and skating and having snowball fights. But under the snow lies a hidden world.”

Brief Synopsis: This beautiful book gives us a brief peek into that hidden, secret world. We visit sleeping ladybugs, a quiet snake, a busy vole, a dozing chipmunk, butterflies, bumblebees, beavers and more. The book really makes you think and wonder about the invisible winter creatures all around us. As I was reading it to my class, more than one child remarked, “But what happens if we accidentally step on them?”

Why I Like This Book:  It’s factual, charming, engaging, and is written simply but effectively, with just enough facts to whet a curious appetite. The illustrations are beautifully detailed water colours.

1. An “Under the Snow” Readers Theatre from PeachTree.

2. A whole bunch of winter math activities by The Tutor Coach.

3. Here’s an Animals in Winter booklet from First Grade and Fabulous.

4. Create an “under the snow” mural scene.

5. Use shaving cream to create a thin layer on snow on construction paper. Use different tools to make tracks in the snow.

6. Brainstorm a list of good things about snow and bad things about snow and then choose one of the items on either list and write a story about it.

7. Research how big the animals in the books are and create a chart or graph to compare their sizes.

8. Choose an animal that’s not featured in the book and find out what it does during cold weather and snow.

9. If there is snow on the ground, go on a walk outside and look for tracks or traces of animals that might be out and about.

10. Put some black paper in the freezer, then when it snows, catch snowflakes on the paper and observe them with a magnifying glass.

11. Fairy Dust Teaching has instructions for some very cute bear dens.

12. Or you may like this “Cardinals in Winter” art project from Deep Space Sparkle:

13. Be sure to check out this “under the snow” Groundhog Day activity. It includes a free poem and rebus story, too!


30 thoughts on “What’s Under the SNOW?”

  1. Great review! I would like to suggest a great additional read alongside this would be Kate Messner's new Picture Book Over and Under the Snow, which I have thought of reviewing!

  2. Ooh, I love all the art projects. Hope my kids turn out crafty! And your kids had a good question, because I was thinking the same thing: “Great, more stuff to worry about when I walk in the snow!” Don't want to hurt anybody…:) I love the snow, and this looks really charming.

  3. This book sounds lovely – and so interesting. I love learning about things like this. And I'm with the kids – what if you step on them? 🙂 The projects look really wonderful, too. Thanks so much for this terrific addition!

  4. You had me with the title, before i even clicked through from Susanna's blog! I immediately thought about all that goes on under the snow. What did you answer the kids who asked “What if we accidentally step on one of them? “Great activities, too.Thank you!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful book for kids. Rarely do we stop and think where the creatures hide or hybernate during the winter. The illustrations look lovely, and the book is very educational in a fun way. Great review.

  6. I love this book! My kids have asked more than once what happens to the animals in the winter and my answers are very limited. I even wonder myself. Great pick, and yes, PPBF does seem to come around rather quickly!

  7. I LOVE your ideas to accompany this book, Barbara! The bear den is oh so adorable. I like the idea of using shaving cream to create snow and then making tracks. Will have to pass this along to my K-1 teachers-or maybe we will just have a shaving cream/snow day in the library! 🙂


Leave a Comment