Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Groundhogs Are So Unappreciated

Groundhog Gets A Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow, illustrated by Denise Brunkus

Groundhog is upset when on February 3rd no one seems to care about him anymore. He decides to tell the other animals (a squirrel, crow, and reporter groundhog), whether they want to hear it or not, why groundhogs should have their own appreciation month, or what makes groundhogs so special. Groundhog begins by telling the animals his different names that include Whistle Pig and Woodchuck. Then then explains about groundhogs burrowing habits, size, animal relatives, movement capabilities, predator detection, habitats, food sources, teeth, hibernation, and getting girls. In the end the reporter groundhog publishes the notes he has been taking and people everywhere line up to get a signed copy of Groundhog Gets A Say.

This is a very funny book. Groundhog spouts off a lot of facts about his species while Crow and Squirrel make comments in little text bubbles. They are not convinced until the end that there is anything special about groundhogs. There is a great deal of factual information in this book about groundhogs and this book could be used in a classroom to kick off a unit about the animal or about finding facts. I liked that the story was lighthearted, you never felt like you were learning the information just that you were reading a fun story with some silly characters. In the end that is a great way to sneak in something educational when kids least expect it. The illustrations really follow the mood of the book. Every animal looks a little cartoon-y and has tons of personality. The pages are really clean, meaning that although there is a lot going on with the narration and the extra text bubbles you always know how to follow the text on the page and the illustrations are not too crowded to make the book feel jumbled or confusing. The illustrator uses a lot of bring colors and it just meshes well with the upbeat tone of the book. I can say that I learned something new about groundhogs, I did not know that people who study them are called marmoteers. Very entertaining and great as a read aloud at home or for a classroom, I recommend for children ages 3-7.

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