These animals in winter books are a great way to teach elementary students about the types of animal adaptations. For example, Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows and Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson are great books for teaching about hibernation. In addition, Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes is great for teaching about migration. Each animals in winter book on this list shares valuable information in an engaging and meaningful way. Your students will love these children’s books about animals in winter! Learn more about some of my favorite winter picture books below and don’t forget to grab the activities that go with some of these animals in winter books!
This post highlights the following winter read alouds:
- The Three Snow Bears
- The Mitten
- Owl Moon
- The Valentine Bears
- Bear Has a Story to Tell
- Hibernation Station
- A Warm Winter Tail
- When it Starts to Snow
- Bear Snores On
- Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes
- Over and Under the Snow
- Winter Dance
- Animals in Winter
- When Winter Comes
- The Big Snow
15 Animals in Winter Books
Below are a list of some of my favorite animals in winter books to share with elementary students!
The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears, is a different take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The book takes place in the arctic and the main characters in this story is a little girl named Aloo-ki and three polar bears.
While out on a walk, Aloo-ki’s huskies start floating out to sea on an ice floe. At the same time, the three polar bears head out on a walk while their soup cools, back home in their igloo. As Aloo-ki chases her dogs, she comes across the igloo and makes her way inside. Aloo-ki tastes the three soups and tries on the different boots before falling asleep in the baby bear’s bed.
When the bears return home, they are surprised to see evidence that someone had been inside. Baby Bear finds Aloo-ki sleeping in her bed! When Aloo-ki awakes and notices the bears, she runs out of the igloo and away with her huskies. Students will love hearing a different version of the famous story!
The Mitten by Jan Brett
In Jan Brett’s The Mitten, a young boy named Nicki wants his grandmother to knit him snow white mittens. Although she warns him they could get lost in the snow, she makes the mittens anyway. When Nicki goes out to play, he drops one of the mittens in the snow and does not realize it. Soon a mole comes by and decides the mitten is a warm cozy place to stay. Eventually, more and more animals (rabbit, owl, fox, bear, mouse, hedgehog) move inside the mitten.
It is crowded inside the mitten and it continues to stretch bigger and bigger. When the mouse climbs on top of the bears nose, it tickles and the bear sneezes. All of the animals go flying out of the mitten! As Nicki walks home he sees his mitten flying through the sky. He returns home and Baba is confused about the large, stretched out mitten.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, tells the story of a young girl who goes owling with her father one night. The girl has been looking forward to this for a long time. As they walk through the cold, dark night, she knows that she must be quiet. The two make their ways through the woods, keeping their eyes open for owls in the night sky. Her father makes owl calls every so often as they walk along.
As they make their way deeper into the woods, Pa makes another call. Soon after, they hear a call back through the trees. The two wait patiently as the call gets closer and then an owl lands above them on a tree branch. Pa shines his flashlight at the owl and they all stare at one another until the owl flies off. Now that they had found an owl, the girl and her Pa could talk, and made their way home.
The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
The story, The Valentine Bears, is about how Mrs. Bear was determined to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the first time with her husband, Mr. Bear. They are usually hibernating during this time of year, but Mrs. Bear sets her alarm so she won’t miss it. There is only one problem… Mrs Bear is having a difficult time waking Mr. Bear up from his nap.
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C Stead
In Bear Has a Story to Tell, it is time for Bear to settle down for winter, but first, he has a story to tell. He asks Mouse if he can tell a story, but Mouse has to prepare for winter, and, although Bear helps Mouse gather seeds, Mouse disappears underground before Bear can tell his story. Bear asks Duck, Frog, and Mole if he can tell them his story but both Duck and Frog are busy and Mole is already asleep. Bear falls asleep, and, when he wakes up in the spring, he is excited to tell his story. He gathers all of his friends and takes a deep breath, but then he realizes that he had forgotten the story over the winter. His friends soon help him come up with a new story to tell!
Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
Hibernation Station is a fictional story about what happens when too many animals try to hibernate in one place. Winter is approaching, and all of the animals in the forest head to the hibernation station to settle down until spring. However, some of the animals are having trouble sleeping: a black bear’s roommate is too noisy and a groundhog wants more light in its room. Soon, many more animals are uncomfortable in their rooms. Luckily, the bears in charge help all of the animals settle down and they soon fall fast asleep!
A Warm Winter Tail by Carrie A Pearson
A Warm Winter Tail is about the many ways that animals hibernate. Written in the perspective of various animals, many different babies ask their mamas how humans settle down for the winter. Each creature assumes that humans use their own strategies for staying warm during the winter, such as fluffing up feathers or burrowing into the mud. This book provides information about the ways that many different animals survive the winter through many different perspectives. It even includes facts at the end of the book providing the different species discussed in the story.
When it Starts to Snow by Phillis Gershator
When it starts to snow, where do all the animals go? The book A Warm Winter Tail answers this question. Mouse creeps into the house, while the cat sits by the window. The sparrow looks for seeds, the geese fly south, and the beaver builds a cozy lodge. The animals on the farm settle down and wait for the farmer to take care of them. Using a rhyming pattern, this book describes what many different animals do to stay warm when winter arrives.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
In a cave in the woods, Bear is sleeping soundly through the long winter in the book Bear Snores On. Mouse enters the cave and lights a fire, and, soon, Hare joins him and they begin popping corn and brewing tea, but the bear snores on. Badger, a gopher, a mole, a wren, and a raven soon ask to share some of the food, and, despite the commotion, Bear remains fast asleep. That night, Bear eventually wakes up, and, with a great roar, scares the animals off. He is upset that they had all that fun without him. Noticing why he is sad, Mouse offers to brew more tea and pop more corn. Soon, the rest of the animals return and the party continues through the night!
Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes
This informational text, Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration, describes how and why many different animals migrate is explained. Some of the animals described in this book include manatees, Candian geese, and loggerhead turtles. Told in rhyme, this story provides reasons that different species migrate as well, such as to get food, find a mate, and to avoid the cold weather.
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
In Over and Under the Snow girl and her dad are out cross-country skiing together. When the girl notices a fox disappear into a crack in the ground, her dad tells her that there is a whole world under the snow. As they ski through the woods, the girl considers all of the animals both nested under the snow, such as mice and voles, and those her and her dad notice above the ground, such as deer and owls. That night, the girl dreams of all of the animals she had seen that day, and imagines the secret kingdom under the snow.
Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer
In Winter Dance, winter is coming, and a fox is wondering what to do since this is his first. He can’t wrap up in a shiny chrysalis like the wooly caterpillar, he can’t bury himself in mud like the turtle, and he can’t swoop into a cave like the bats. The fox can’t stash acorns like the squirrel, he can’t migrate like the geese do, and he can’t change the color of his fur like the bunny can. He would like to settle down like the bear, but he’s not at all sleepy. Finally, he meets another red fox, who shows him what they can do during winter.
Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft
Winter is approaching, and Animals in Winter describes how all of the animals need to prepare for the cold weather. Many birds and even monarch butterflies migrate south. Some bats sleep in caves, and others migrate as well. Using some diagrams and many illustrations, this book describes the winter habits of many more animals, including woodchucks, pikas, squirrels, deer and rabbits.
When Winter Comes by Pearl Neuman
What do woodchucks, black bear, red foxes, and Canadian geese do during the winter? When Winter Comes explains the seasonal adaptations made by these North American animals.
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
In The Big Snow, it is fall, and all of the animals in the forest are preparing for winter. This book describes how different animals, including geese, rabbits, groundhogs, and chipmunks prepare for the Big Snow. These animals either gather food and prepare to hibernate, or they might fly south to avoid the cold. When winter arrives, an old couple helps some of the animals who did not migrate by providing them with some food. The animals all wait for the groundhog to see his shadow before winter ends.
These animals in winter books serve as great read alouds for those cold wintery months. They complement an animal adaptations science unit or an animal research project, but can also be used as a short reading lesson. No matter how you introduce or implement these stories, your elementary students will love listening to and talking about these winter-themed books! Grab the Starts With a Story resources below to help bring these books to life in your classroom!
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