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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

By: Joyce Sidman

Illustrator: Rick Allen

“We rose in a billow of white.” A collection of poems about animals and their winter habits, from the perspectives of migrating tundra swans, hibernating snakes, and more. Glossary. Full-color illustrations were created with a combination of relief printmaking, hand-coloring, and digital composition.

ISBN: 9780547906508

JLG Release: Feb 2015


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Winter , Animals , Animal behaviors and characteristics , Snow , Change of seasons , Poetry

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Awards & Honors

SLJ Best Books 2014, Nonfiction
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014, Picture Books
Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2014, Poetry
Booklist Lasting Connections 2014, Science
New York Public Library, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014, Poetry
ALA Notable Books for Children 2015, All Ages
2015 CLA Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts
NCTE Notable Poetry List 2015
Los Angeles Public Library Best Books of 2014, Children’s
2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books, Commended, Picture Book
2015 John Burroughs Riverby Award
2015 Claudia Lewis Award, YoungerReaders
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Poetry

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
The 12 selections in this collection offer a winter wonderland of deftly crafted poetry, fascinating science facts, an amazingly rich vocabulary, and stunning illustrations. In the title poem, the bees are lyrically described, ”Born with eyelash legs/and tinsel wings/we are nothing on our own./Together, we are One.
[STARRED REVIEW]
The 12 selections in this collection offer a winter wonderland of deftly crafted poetry, fascinating science facts, an amazingly rich vocabulary, and stunning illustrations. In the title poem, the bees are lyrically described, ”Born with eyelash legs/and tinsel wings/we are nothing on our own./Together, we are One. . . . Deep in the winter hive,/we burn like a golden sun.” In “Big Brown Moose,” the animal humorously chants, “I’m a big brown moose,/I’m a rascally moose,/I’m a moose with a tough shaggy hide . . . ” Science facts about the animals’ lives in harsh winter climates appear in sidebars on each spread. Sidman explores the safe places that allow for survival, such as in the underwater beaver lodge, “In the dim oval room,/they groom, snack, kiss;/strong brown bullets that dive/in the under-ice world.” The poet also includes the role of plant species in the process, such as the skunk cabbage that signals spring’s arrival as the first plant to sprout through the snow and its importance as it attracts insect pollinators. Readers come to understand that the seemingly barren winter is actually teaming with the hidden activity of plant and animal life. Allen’s intricately detailed, hand-colored, linoleum prints jump off the page, wrap around the words, and breathe life into the foxes, voles, swans, wolves, and more. This combination provides a magnificent celebration of winter that delights and informs. A comprehensive glossary of specialized words is included. Douglas Florian’s Winter Eyes (Greenwillow, 1999), Barbara Rogasky’s Winter Poems (Scholastic, 1995), and Anna Grossnickle Hines’s Winter Lights (Greenwillow, 1995) also celebrate the season but cover a wide range of events. Winter Bees distinguishes itself with a focus on the science of animal survival, coupled with superlative illustrations. Readers young and old will enjoy this winter journey and marvel at the wonders of nature.—Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY

Horn Book

In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist and fold / to weave a heavy cloak of cold.” Intrepid moose “shrug off the cold,” while beavers retreat to t In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist and fold / to weave a heavy cloak of cold.” Intrepid moose “shrug off the cold,” while beavers retreat to their “dim oval room” to “groom, snack, kiss” between dives “in the under-ice world.” Framing her twelve-poem cycle with the fall departure of tundra swans and a “Triolet for Skunk Cabbage,” that harbinger of spring, Sidman exemplifies the survival strategies of a well-chosen sample of species. Her poems, as usual, are lovely—precise, evocative, lyrical, varied in tone; relevant facts in succinct (separate) prose illuminate the imagery of each. (There’s a glossary, too, a score or so of terms from abdomen to vole and including pantoum.) Winter Bees is as beautiful visually as it is verbally. Winter’s deep browns, blues, and whites are warmed with glowing honey tones, while a fox, caught mid-pounce in glorious red and gold on the cover, lurks throughout. A note describes the artist’s “unlikely marriage” of hand-colored linoleum blocks with computer techniques: the engraver’s tool lends strength; a digital laid paper effect provides pleasing texture. There’s a pleasing subtext, too: these creatures can play vital roles for one another—the “Alarm-on-the-wind” raven alerts wolves to prey they’ll share; multitudinous springtails (“snow fleas”) sustain chickadees. A handsome, persuasive, and authentic ambassador for creatures in their natural state. joanna rudge long

Book Details

ISBN

9780547906508

First Release

February 2015

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

811/.54

Trim Size

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.5; Points: 15;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Winter, Animals, Animal behaviors and characteristics, Snow, Change of seasons, Poetry,

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