Groundhog Day is one of those holidays that always sneaks up on me! I think it’s because it’s at the beginning of the month. If you are the same and find yourself waking up on February 2nd without a lesson or activity celebrating this day, then the list of Groundhog Day books below might help! The best part is that many of these books can be found in your school library or personal library.
Your elementary students will love listening to one of the groundhog books listed below and engaging in a classroom discussion about this holiday. Learn more about the list of Groundhog Day books below!
This post highlights the following Groundhog Day books that make great winter read alouds:
- Substitute Groundhog
- Go to Sleep, Groundhog!
- Groundhog Gets a Say
- Groundhog Weather School
- Groundhog’s Dilemma
- The Secret of the First One Up
- Gregory’s Shadow
- Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off
- Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day
- Groundhog’s Day Off
10 Groundhog Day Books for Kids
Read the summaries of 10 of my favorite Groundhog books below! You’ll love these February read alouds!
1. Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller
Substitute Groundhog is a story about how Groundhog unfortunately gets sick the day before Groundhog Day, so he puts up a want ad for a substitute groundhog. Later that morning, many different animals have lined up to try out for the role, but none of them can quite do the job. Just as Groundhog is about to give up, Armadillo, a stranger from far away, appears and asks to try out. To Groundhog’s surprise, she does a perfect job, and is hired on the spot. When Armadillo predicts six more weeks of winter, though, Groundhog is upset because he had been hoping for warmer weather. Armadillo comes up with the perfect solution!
2. Go to Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox
Go to Sleep, Groundhog! is a book that takes place the day after Columbus Day. It’s time for Groundhog to hibernate for the winter, so he gets into his warm, cozy bed, sets the alarm for February 2nd. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to fall asleep!
He decides to get up and go for a walk with the hope that it will make him sleepy. He comes across Halloween Witch, who tries to help Groundhog sleep by reading him a ghost story and giving him a glass of apple cider. After tossing and turning for a long time, it is half-past November and Groundhog still cannot sleep.
Again, he gets up to go for a walk, and this time he meets Turkey. Turkey takes Groundhog back home, tells him a story about Pilgrims and gives him a slice of apple pie to help him sleep. After tossing and turning for some time, it is half-past December, and Groundhog still can’t sleep!
He goes for a walk and meets Santa, who reads him a Christmas story and gives him milk and a cookie. This time, he doesn’t toss and turn; he goes right to sleep!
3. Groundhog Gets a Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow
Groundhog Gets a Say is a story about how Groundhog is tired of being the center of attention for only one day. He thinks that his holiday should be longer than a day, or maybe even a month, because a species like his should get more attention. His friends, a crow and a squirrel, think he is too full of himself because, besides the turkey, he is the only animal to get a national holiday. Groundhog proves them wrong by listing everything he can do, like keep his burrow neat and run as fast as a fourth grader! This book has a lot of educational value while still being entertaining for students.
4. Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
In the book Groundhog Weather School, join eight young groundhogs (and one determined skunk) as they learn all about weather and famous groundhogs in this informational, yet entertaining read. This book teaches facts about Groundhog’s Day, the reason for the change in temperature throughout the seasons, and how some plants and animals can help predict the weather, among many other interesting facts. Students will love how the book’s layout, small sections of text in bubbles, along with funny illustrations make the story engaging!
5. Groundhog’s Dilemma by Kristen Remenar
In the story Groundhog’s Dilemma, half of his friends cheer while the other half groan after Groundhog announces that he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day. In the following months, the friends who did not want winter to end show their appreciation, while those that did complain about Groundhog’s prediction. His friends begin going out of their way to do things for him in hope that Groundhog will change his prediction in their favor. Groundhog doesn’t know what to do; he wants to make all of his friends happy. As he settles in for the winter he feels restless, so he decides to leave his den to look for help with his situation. He finds Owl, who tells him that he needs to do whatever feels right to him. In the end, Groundhog decides that telling the truth matters more than favoring any of his friends’ wishes.
6. The Secret of the First One Up by Iris Hiskey Arno
The Secret of the First One Up is a book about how all of the groundhogs except for Lila are ready to sleep when it is time to settle down for the winter. Her Uncle Wilbur sympathizes with her and tells her about the secret of the first one up, but he does not tell her what happens to this special groundhog. Lila wants to know the secret, but her uncle tells her that she must wake up first to find out what it is.
When Lila wakes up after her long sleep, she looks around and finds that she is the first groundhog awake. She tries to wake up her Uncle Wilbur, but he isn’t ready to get up yet. Lila can’t wait another second so she hurries above ground, and soon finds herself surrounded by other animals, waiting for her to see her shadow! By being the first one up, Lila got to find out the secret, and she was also able to play the important role of a groundhog on Groundhog Day.
7. Gregory’s Shadow by Don Freeman
Gregory’s Shadow takes place on the day before Groundhog Day. Shy Groundhog Gregory is preparing to present his shadow to the farmers who wait for his prediction. Although Shadow had promised to be right behind him when the day arrives, on the day before he is nowhere to be found. Instead, another shadow begins coming towards him. Frightened, Gregory runs back inside, forgetting about Shadow and leaving him outside. Shadow wanders the farmyard, coming across a scarecrow and a tree, who both already have shadows. Tired, Shadow falls asleep in an old barn. Meanwhile, in the burrow, Gregory realizes that he can’t find his friend Shadow anywhere. He decides to go outside and look for him and eventually ventures bravely into the old barn. The pair are reunited, and, the next day, Gregory is able to both stay with shadow and make the farmers happy!
8. Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off by Pat Stemper Vojta
Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off is about Groundhog, who doesn’t feel like doing his job this year. He asks Mrs. Rabbit if she will make the prediction, and, although she is busy, she does give him a vest to wear for the special occasion. Then, he asks Mr. Turtle, and, although he cannot play the role, he gives Groundhog a holiday hat to wear on Groundhog Day. He then asks Mrs. Squirrel, who instead gives him a cane to go with his vest and hat. As Groundhog walks home, he receives one more gift: a bow tie made from Mrs. Raccoon’s ribbon. With his new outfit, Groundhog has the confidence to lead Groundhog Day himself, and finds that he is no longer looking for a substitute!
9. Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day by Abby Levine
Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day is about how Gretchen Groundhog is taking over her Great-Uncle’s role of Groundhog Day groundhog, but she is very nervous to be in front of so many people. Her great uncle offers her encouragement by telling Gretchen all about Groundhog Day and the groundhogs’ history. Gretchen learns that it’s okay to be a little scared for a new experience. This gives her the courage to step out of her comfort zone!
10. Groundhog’s Day Off by Robb Pearlman
Groundhog’s Day Off is a story about how Groundhog is getting tired of the same routine year after year. He wishes the tourists and reporters would ask him personal questions for once, rather than focusing on the weather. He decides that he is going to take a vacation. Before heading to the spa, Groundhog leaves a note to the people explaining they’ll have to find someone else for Groundhog Day this year.
The mayor decides that they will hold auditions for the role of Groundhog. Many animals try out but no one is right for the job. While watching the news, Groundhog hears the Mayor talking about how special Groundhog was. Groundhog is excited to hear how much people think of him and rushes back to his hole. Everyone is excited to hear from him and ask him questions.
On Groundhog Day, he gets what he always wanted, everyone is interested in him instead of the weather. At the end of the day, Groundhog happily heads back to his hole. He hears the news that Bunny has quit!
This collection of Groundhog Day books provide elementary students a fun and engaging way to learn about Groundhog Day. If you need activities that complement these Groundhog Day books, then check out the Starts With a Story resources below!
- Groundhog’s Day Off book companion that includes both printable and digital activities.
- Substitute Groundhog book companion that includes printable activities.
- Groundhog Day Reading Graphic Organizers that you can use with any book.