The Nature Book List


Hibernation Station  books

All aboard the hibernation train! Join chipmunks, snakes, frogs, and a whole host of other animals as they head towards their winter slumber. Whimsical and detailed drawings of animals in their pajamas will engage and amuse readers of all ages, and the rhyming text makes this a wonderful fit for read-aloud storytime.


Educator notes:

  • Author's note after story provides a background on hibernation
  • Observant young readers will notice the gradual change from fall to winter as the book progresses
Author: Michelle Meadows Illustrator: Kurt Cyrus Publication year: 2010 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ISBN: 978-1416937883 Number of pages: 40 NAAEE: Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems Find At Your Library


Over and Under the Snow  kids Authors

When snow blankets the landscape, the lives of many animals in the forest change. Small animals like mice and voles are hidden and protected while they tunnel, eat, and sleep. Meanwhile, predators such as foxes and owls use their senses and smarts to detect these prey animals, and find a snack! This book explores the secrets of the subnivean environment.


Educator notes:

  • Simple and colorful illustrations support the text
  • An author's note and information in the back of the book provide further detail for readers and librarians/educators
  • Readers that enjoy this book may also like Over and Under the Pond and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by the same author/illustrator team
Author: Kate Messner Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal Publication year: 2014 Publisher: Chronicle Books ISBN: 978-1452136462 Number of pages: 44 NAAEE: Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems Find At Your Library
Topic: winter, predator, prey, subnivean, snow Age: Preschool Active Learning Strategy: Games

Type: Individual/whole class exercise

Title: Sneaking Around the Snow

Learning Objectives: The student will:

  • Draw an animal from a snowy environment, and identify what zone it inhabits
  • Role play the behavior of predators and prey in a snowy environment, and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each


In this activity, students will draw an animal featured in the informational text, and match it to the appropriate zone in a snowy environment. Then, students will play a predator/prey parachute game starring these animals.



  • Copies of Hibernation Station and Over and Under the Snow
  • Sticky notes (enough for one per student)
  • Pencils and crayons for students to share
  • Chart paper
  • Large game parachute (may need to borrow from physical education teacher); if not available, game may be attempted with a large, lightweight tarp.
  • Space large enough to accommodate spread out parachute with a bit of room to move around the outside. This may be outdoors, or in a gymnasium or other large room.


  • Librarian/educator will write the names of predator/prey species featured in Over and Under the Snow on the bottom of each sticky note (one species per note). Animals may be duplicated, and enough labeled notes are needed for each student to have one.
  • Librarian/educator will choose one predator and one prey animal from the labeled notes and create a simple drawing of these animals for modeling purposes.
  • Librarian/educator will read Hibernation Station aloud to students.

Direct Instruction

  1. Librarian/educator will gather students for circle time. What are some ways that winter is different from other seasons? What do animals do in the winter? Today we are going to learn about how a blanket of snow affects animal behavior. Librarian/educator will read Over and Under the Snow aloud to the students.
  2. The librarian/educator will draw a horizontal line across the middle of the chart paper, label the top part "above the snow" and the bottom "below the snow." "Subnivean" will also be written below the snow. This scientific term describes the environment underneath the snow, and is a great vocabulary word!
  3. The librarian/educator will ask the students to name some animals featured in Over and Under the Snow. The two model drawings will be shared as examples.

Guided Practice

  1. With the help of the students, the librarian/educator will place each of the drawings (on sticky notes) in the proper "zone" on the chart paper ("above the snow" or "below the snow").
  2. Next, students will each pick one of the sticky notes (with animal names on bottom) randomly from a bag or bin. They will take a few minutes to draw and color the animal listed on the sticky note. Students may refer to the illustrations from Over and Under the Snow as needed to complete their drawings.
  3. When students have completed their drawings, they will take turns placing them one at a time in the appropriate zone on the chart paper. The librarian/educator will assist as needed.

Independent Practice

  1. Now it's time for the game! The librarian/educator will bring out the parachute and have all students gather around it in a circle. Pulling it taut, everyone will grab the edges and practice rippling it at waist level.
  2. Once the group has mastered this, the librarian will choose two students at a time to play predator and prey. One student will choose a predator animal sticky note from the "above the snow" section on the chart paper, and they will pretend to be the predator who will be on the top part of the parachute. The other student will choose a prey animal sticky note from the "below the snow" section on the chart paper, and they will pretend to be prey who will be underneath the parachute.
  3. The predator will take off their shoes (no shoes on the parachute to keep everyone safe), and crawl to the middle of the parachute while it lays flat. The rest of the group will grab the edges of the parachute, raise to waist level, and begin to ripple it as they did before. The prey animal will crawl on all fours around the parachute until they decide on a place to enter between people on the outside.
  4. Now the predator needs to try to catch the prey! Both will crawl around on all fours, with one above the parachute (predator) and the other below (prey). Meanwhile, students on the edges will ripple the parachute constantly, distracting the predator and providing places for the prey to hide. The round will continue until the predator tags the prey through the parachute, or a predetermined amount of time has passed.
  5. Animal sticky notes will be replaced on the chart paper for the next round.
  6. The game will proceed until all students have had the chance to be predator or prey, or both. Animals from sticky notes may be repeated if desired.


  1. Once the game is complete, the librarian/educator will reconvene the group for wrap-up circle time/discussion. Questions may include:
    • Where do most of the predators live in a snowy environment--above or below the snow? How about the prey? Which prey don't live below the snow, and why?
    • Was it difficult being the predator during the game? What about the prey? Which do you think was easier?
    • If you could pick any animal from the book to be, which would you choose and why? What would be advantages, and disadvantages?

Notes about this strategy:

This activity is a fun way for students to experience the challenges of being a predator or prey in a snowy environment. The parachute activity works best with a group of 10 or more. If you happen to live in a snowy environment and students are prepared for snow play, this can be done outdoors in deep snow!

This activity was adapted from "Snow Way to Hide," Below Zero Activity Guide (2003), Canadian Wildlife Federation.