BooksForKidsBlog

Saturday, February 06, 2021

A Winter's Tale: Once Upon A Winter's Day by Liza Woodruff

MILO WAS LOOKING FOR A STORY, BUT HIS MOTHER WAS BUSY.

"WHY DON'T YOU GO PLAY IN THE SNOW?" SHE ASKED.

MILO DIDN'T WANT TO PLAY IN SNOW. HE WANTED A STORY!

But he dutifully bundled up and, leaving angry, stomping tracks behind him, walked to the bird feeder, where he notices some tiny mouse footprints under it.

WOULD THE MOUSE HAVE A STORY TO TELL?

Intrigued, Milo follows the tracks to a winterberry bush with no berries, but a single feather. Supposing the mouse had eaten all the berries, Milo moved on, raising a flock of cardinals, one of which drops a winterberry, proving that the mouse is not the only one who striped the bush of its summer fruit. Walking into the woods, Milo discovers some cut branches underneath an evergreen where he spots two porcupines happily crunching the hemlock needles. Still tracking the mouse prints, Milo finds a patch of dirt clogs mixed with snow. Something had been digging there, and just ahead he comes upon a group of deer, munching acorns that had been under the snow. Trudging on, Milo spots a slide made by otters, sledding downhill to the creek. Following the mouse trail a little further, Milo comes upon a worrying scene. The mouse tracks end in a patch of disturbed snow and Milo spots a swooping hawk, claws extended, grasping at something scuttling under a tree.

Is that the end of the mouse's story? And then he hears his mother calling him to dinner. DRAT! But then... he happily spots some tiny tracks disappearing down a deep hole.

MILO FOLLOWED HIS TRACKS BACK HOME.

And after supper, his mom finally offers to read him some stories.

MILO SHOOK HIS HEAD. "THIS TIME I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU," HE SAID.

Liza Woodruff's Once Upon a Winter Day (Holiday House, 2020) is a winter's tale, a snowy Sherlock mystery, and a fine nature walk all in one, in which Milo's trek offers much about how animals survive in winter, with a beautifully illustrated happy ending for the deer mouse in a two-page spread showing the mouse trekking through a tunnel and up into a cozy nest in the woodpile. With endpapers that reveal the names of the animals Milo encounters, this story is perfect for preschool and primary grade studies of animal adaptation to the season, with an attentive nature detective as main character. Says Horn Book's starred review, "Words and pictures work together to tell a taut and just-right-for-the-audience suspenseful tale."

Labels: , ,