Books about holidays are very appealing to children and a good way to teach them about the traditions that play a role in our culture. Gail Gibbons book, Groundhog Day!, is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches a child about groundhog day and the traditions that led to it, as well the nature of the groundhog him/herself. Factual yet entertaining, the book is richly illustrated with pictures that complement and substantially add to the text.
Gail gibbons is a well-known author of over 100 non-fiction books for children and Groundhog Day! does not disappoint. Aimed at children six years old and up, the book explains the origin of groundhog day including why people watch animal behavior, why groundhog day started in Pennsylvania, and the nature of the festivities there on February 2nd. It includes the facts that the Punxsutawney Phil is kept in a burrow under a fake tree stump and that the ceremony is pretend but still fun.
The book also includes lots of information on groundhogs including other common names for them, characteristics of their teeth, their diet, and their housing accommodations. Illustrations of a groundhog skull showing the teeth, and of a groundhog burrow with its various chambers creates vivid visual images to accompany the text. Facts on hibernation, litter-bearing, defense behavior and relationship to gardeners add to the presentation. A map showing the names and locations of other famous groundhogs is especially interesting and appealing.
The combination of charming illustrations and factual material makes this a very appealing book. It is a great book for teaching a child about both the holiday, Groundhog Day, and the animal itself. Combine it with a whimsical story like Pat Stemper’s Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off, and you have a winning duo.