Friday, January 31, 2014

Are You Ready to Hibernate?

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
I'm so happy that dance educator Maria Hanley from Maria's Movers and I are renewing our collaboration in 2014. I'm not yet sure how often we'll be posting together, but when we do, we'll be sharing our experiences with picture books I recommend for Maria to use in her creative movement classes in New York. Our January book is Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows and Kurt Cyrus!

With so many parts of the country being pounded by snow and surrounded by cold this winter, hibernation is starting to sound like a really good idea! Hibernation Station, written by Michelle Meadows with illustrations by Kurt Cyrus, provides plenty of opportunities for little ones to explore the concept of hibernation and pretend to be animals gathering food and preparing for their own winter's naps.

I actually haven't read too many picture books about hibernation, but this one has a twist that I can't imagine has been done before. Instead of searching for places to hibernate outside, the animals in this book -- already dressed in their finest cold-weather pajamas -- all board a special "hibernation" train that will carry them through the forest during the winter months…

Fuzzy slippers, warm pajamas.
Forest babies and their mamas…
show up early to the station!
Time for winter hibernation.

According to the illustrations, but not mentioned in the text, each car of the train is made out of a log that is full of compartments for different types of animals -- squirrels, frogs, raccoons, skunks, and more. But before the animals get comfortable in their new winter homes, there are a few problems they must overcome...

"I cannot sleep!" a black bear roars.
"My roommate rolls around and snores!"
A groundhog cries, "This hole's too tight."
"It's dark in here. I need more light."

As the train rolls through the forest, the illustrations show the season changing from fall to winter. By the end of the book, the snow is really coming down! And, as you might have guessed, the animals do solve their problems and finally get some shut-eye.

In a nutshell, if you make a book full of perfect rhymes, cute furry animals in pajamas, and a train -- like this one -- then it's bound to put smiles on the faces of little ones. Let's see what Maria came up with in the dance studio to make those smiles even bigger! You can read her ideas here.


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