"I smell winter in the air," said Bear. "It is time to crawl into my cave and sleep. But first I must tell Snail."
And so begins a cozy bedtime tale that is magical in its simplicity, and yet sparkles with tiny facts about the animal world and hibernation. "'It is time to seal your shell and sleep,'" Bear tells Snail, and Snail agrees, having noticed the frost on the grass that morning. Then Snail hurries off to tell Skunk, who must tell Turtle, who must tell Woodchuck, who must tell Ladybug. Each animal notices a sign of winter — the changing leaves, the shortening days, even the tightness of a full belly — and each has its own particular way of hibernating. In an ending that will charm young children, the chain comes full circle, with Ladybug rushing off to tell the already-sleeping Bear. The two hibernate near each other, and the final page offers a drowsy chorus of goodnights.
Denise Fleming, the acclaimed author/illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book In the Small, Small Pond, created the striking pictures for this seasonal picture book by pouring colored cotton pulp through hand-cut stencils. Her animal friends are realistic and bold, living in a world awash with autumn colors. Use this cozy bedtime story for cold-weather discussions of animal habitats.