Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dreaming the Winter Away

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.

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.
Here are a few poems about hibernation that I like.
  • Into the Mud by Joyce Sidman, in Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems.
      slants low,
      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
      Into spring.
  • 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.

    • Soon September stones
      Chill bones
      Chill blood
      Stiff shall I grow
      And so below I'll slide

  • 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?
Finally, I highly recommend the following picture books as just plain fun for younger readers studying hibernation, though not particularly scientific.
  • 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.
Please let me know if I've missed any of your favorites.

1 comment:

  1. The Central Flyway cranes winter in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. They usually begin arriving along the Platte in February. Numbers continue to climb, peaking in late March. About April 10, a mass exodus occurs, with a few stragglers remaining through early May. Their nesting grounds vary depending on the subspecies. The greater sandhill crane nests in western Minnesota and the Interlake region of Manitoba, while the Canadian subspecies occurs throughout central Canada from the Hudson Bay west to the Rocky Mountains. The lesser sandhill crane is a bird of the high arctic, nesting across the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska. About 80,000 cross the Bering Strait to nest in eastern Siberia.