The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye
(Suggested reading level: Grades 2-5)
Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up to hear whether or not Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. I’m hoping, as always, that he doesn’t. I’m not a winter lover.
But why groundhogs and why February 2nd? This fun little book answers those questions and has a lot of other info packed in. It starts off with a description of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the event has turned into a three day festival. It also gives facts about groundhogs, their lives and mating habits, and discusses hibernation.
I found the most interesting chapter “The Beginnings of Groundhog Day.” The author traces it’s history, beginning with the spring festival, Imbolc, celebrated by the Celts in ancient Ireland through the day becoming St. Brigit’s Day, eventually known as Candelmas.
An old German saying is,
When the bear sees his shadow at Candlemas,
he will craw back into his hole for another six weeks. (pg. 25)
Throughout Europe, different hibernating animals were watched for spring weather predictions, bears, badgers and hedgehogs. According to the book, Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century brought the Candlemas tradition with them, but Pennsylvania doesn’t have many badgers or hedgehogs and no one wants to find a hungry bear. Groundhogs however, they have plenty of, so they became the natural choice.
At the end of the book, there’s even ideas for holding a Groundhog Day party, complete with games and fun food.
Overall this is a fun book. It’s informative and the illustrations are cute and cartoony. See if your library has it. It’s a great way to share the holiday with kids.
What’s a groundhog’s favorite food?
Burrow-itos. (pg. 40)
Challenges: 100+, A to Z
My copy was borrowed from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.