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Lila the groundhog is curious about the early awakening of her Uncle Wilbur each year. As she snuggles into her cozy bed for her long winter sleep Lila is determined to solve the mystery by being the first one up. Sure enough she rises before anyone else and runs outside to find all the animals anxiously waiting to see if winter is over. Lila has discovered the secret of shadows that explain the Groundhog Day tradition while creating a special memory with Uncle Wilbur that can only come from the joy of shared experiences between generations. This charming tale about building family bonds through familiar customs will also inspire a closer relationship with nature as students learn about the connection between culture and wildlife.
This story would make an excellent read-aloud for Groundhog Day, especially if correlated with K-2 social studies themes of traditions and celebrations. Rituals that centre on the close connection between weather and nature could also be explored further by inviting a First Nations community member to introduce traditional ecological knowledge in an outdoor setting.
This book also supports elementary science outcomes that investigate the ways that animals respond to seasonal changes. A class could create lists of animals that hibernate, migrate or remain active during winter. A winter field trip could further involve students in describing animal signs and investigating winter homes. Additional ideas for outdoor activities that explore the seasonal adaptations of animals can also be found in the Early February Nature Guide.
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