For those animals that do not migrate to warmer climates in the winter months, hibernation is one way to cope with the harsh realities of colder weather. It is an effective strategy that enables animals to live in places where food is not abundant year round. While we tend to think about bears when we hear the word hibernation, snakes, frogs, turtles, woodchucks, ground squirrels and bats also hibernate in winter. To learn more about hibernation, check out these terrific resources.
- Bear on the Train by Julie Lawson - When a bear follows his nose, he ends up climbing in the hopper car of train, munching on grain, and hibernating in a rather unusual place.
- Do Not Disturb: The Mysteries of Animal Hibernation and Sleep by Margery Facklam - Though out of print, this is one of the most thorough and well-written books about hibernation that I have read. It discusses the three types of hibernation (deep sleep, light sleep, and daily dormancy) as well as estivation.
- Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky - This beautifully illustrated book describes what happens in fall as a black bear looks for a suitable den in which to spend the winter.
- Moon Glowing by Elizabeth Partridge - A terrific selection for younger readers, or nice poetic example for older students, this book shows how a squirrel, bat, beaver, and bear prepare for colder weather.
- Animals Hibernating: How Animals Survive Extreme Conditions by Pamela Hickman - Realistic drawings accompanied by engaging text provide an introduction to true hibernators, deep sleepers, and estivators. This title also includes ideas for some easy science activities.
- Do Polar Bears Snooze in Hollow Trees? A Book About Animal Hibernation by Laura Purdie Salas - Do you know who burrows in the mud and who hangs from a ceiling while sleeping the winter away? In engaging question and answer format, this book answers these questions and more while looking at where different animals hibernate.
- Lewis Cardinal's First Winter/El Primer Invierno de Luis, el Cardenal by Amy Crane Johnson - Lewis Cardinal is confused as his woodland friends get ready for winter, but his friend Solomon Raven explains hibernation and migration in an effort to help him understand. This bilingual book is one in a series of four.
In addition to the books listed above, there are others that look generally at what happens to animals in winter.
- When Winter Comes by Nancy Can Laan - In rhyming question and answer format, a child asks where leaves, flowers, caterpillars, songbirds, field mice, deer, and fish go when the winter comes.
- Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft - This Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science book looks at how various animals prepare for winter, with some migrating, some hibernating, and other collecting and storing food.
- Into the Mud by Joyce Sidman, in Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems.
chill seeps into black
water. No more days of bugs
and basking. Last breath, last sight
- Baby Bear Moon by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London in Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back.
- Long ago a small child
was lost in the snow.
We thought she had frozen,
but when spring came again
she was seen with a mother bear
and her small cubs.
- The Bear by Douglas Florian, in mammalabilia.
- Come Septem-bear
I sleep, I slum-bear,
Till winter lum-bears
- The Wood Frog by Douglas Florian, in lizards, frogs, and polliwogs.
I am a frozen frogsicle.
I froze beneath a logsicle.
My mind is a fogsicle
Inside this icy bogsicle.
- Timber Rattlesnake by Marilyn Singer, in Turtle in July.
- Where Do Fish Go in Winter? by Amy Goldman Koss in Where Fish Go in Winter And Answers to Other Great Mysteries
When lakes turn to ice
And are covered with snow,
What becomes of the fish
Who are living below?
- Soon September stones
Stiff shall I grow
And so below I'll slide
- Karma Wilson has a wonderful series of books featuring a bear and his woodland friends. A few of these touch on some aspects of hibernation. In an effort to be inclusive of all students, I have left off the Christmas title (you can find it easily), but will mention these two:
- Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming - In this warmly illustrated book, bear smells winter in the air and gets ready to hibernate, but must first tell his friends.