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Groundhog Weather School
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Groundhog Weather School

5.0 4
by Joan Holub, Kristin Sorra (Illustrator)

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The must-have book for Groundhog Day?and the rest of the year!

With pop-art illustrations, a tongue-in-cheek tone, and a riot of detail, kids learn all the important aspects of Groundhog Day. And where better to learn it than Groundhog Weather School!

Professor Groundhog opens a school so groundhogs can learn to accurately forecast the weather each February.


The must-have book for Groundhog Day?and the rest of the year!

With pop-art illustrations, a tongue-in-cheek tone, and a riot of detail, kids learn all the important aspects of Groundhog Day. And where better to learn it than Groundhog Weather School!

Professor Groundhog opens a school so groundhogs can learn to accurately forecast the weather each February. Following along with the amusing cast of students, kids are drawn in by the thoroughly engaging tale while they learn fun facts about different animals (groundhogs in particular), seasons, weather, and predicting the weather. With funny asides and a comic-style approach to the illustrations, this informational story presents a fresh look at Groundhog Day through the eyes of the animals who live it each year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The amusing illustrations, colorful paintings digitally collaged with found objects and papers, set the tone for this inviting introduction to groundhogs and the holiday named for them.”—Booklist

 "[G]ood fun that will subtly teach in between laughs."—Kirkus Reviews

 "Each turn of the page provides another surprise."—SLJ

Children's Literature - Melissa Rife
When Professor W. Groundhog predicts the weather wrong on Groundhog Day, he gets a letter from Rabbit, suggesting he train more groundhogs to help him. Rabbit suggests that more groundhogs be trained to look for their shadows all across the country. So, the professor sets out to find new recruits. As those recruits learn in Groundhog School all about groundhogs, predicting the weather, making burrows, and more, so does the reader. Factual information is presented through dialogue, "reports" turned in the by groundhog students, and a play presented by the students. On the page that shows Professor Groundhog's ad for finding groundhogs, children will subtly learn about mammals, burrows, rodents, herbivores, and what hibernation is. As the groundhogs take their final exam, the reader, too, gets to see how much he/she has learned from the book. Subtle jokes are hidden within the book, thus broadening its appeal to older children and parents. The illustrations are large, colorful, and very detailed. Between these illustrations and the cute story, you almost forget that the picture book you are reading is actually made up mainly of facts. The last page provides further information about how Groundhog Day came to exist and challenges the readers to begin their own experiment to predict the weather. Reviewer: Melissa Rife
[S]o varied and so often witty that children will absorb the facts effortlessly.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—This story combines elements of comic books, science lessons, a holiday tale, and history class. It opens with a groundhog incorrectly predicting the coming of spring, prompting a rabbit to write a letter suggesting that more groundhogs be trained and utilized to improve accuracy. Candidates are schooled in the fine points of groundhog physiology, nomenclature, Groundhog Day lore, seasonal changes, and weather patterns. After graduation, they take their places to make their predictions—without much change in the outcome. Sorra's amusing multimedia illustrations include comic frames, collage, and speech bubbles; each turn of the page provides another surprise. Holub does a good job keeping all the balls in the air—the groundhog school story line propels the stream of information—but accessibility is a problem. The text is too advanced for the primary grade students who are most likely to be celebrating Groundhog Day, and the book does not lend itself to reading to a group. Best for one-on-one sharing.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Holub presents a clever look at the weather as readers follow some groundhogs (and an imposter) through their training at Professor Groundhog's school. In their lessons (including "GeHOGraphy") they write reports on "Famous Furry Hognosticators," learn other natural weather predictors, read about famous figures in weather history, learn about burrow building, do a skit entitled, "The Reasons for Seasons" and experiment with making shadows. Readers can take "The BIG Test" along with students to see how much they have learned. Sorra's illustrations combine a scrapbook style, with letters, checklists and typed research reports, and a comic-book style complete with speech bubbles and panels. The result really lets readers get into the premise and allows for diverse facts to be presented in little snippets (and funny comments to be assigned to each unique groundhog). Bright colors, textures and the incorporation of found objects, as well as the busyness of each page will keep readers searching the artwork. Backmatter includes information about Groundhog Day. Nothing in-depth or too serious here, but good fun that will subtly teach in between laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

The reason I'm a children's book author/illustrator today is that I have a lot of determination. I practiced drawing and revised my stories over and over because I wanted nothing more than to do what I'm doing now--writing and illustrating children's books.

I always knew I'd become an artist and studied art in college in Texas. After graduating from college, I became an Art Director at a graphic design firm. I moved from Texas to New York to work in children's publishing. I got a job as Associate Art Director in children's books at Scholastic, where I designed books and enjoyed working with editors and illustrators. This was excellent experience.

I illustrated my first children's book in 1992 and soon began illustrating full time. I had always written stories, but I began completing manuscripts and mailing them out to publishers in the early 1990's. In 1996, I sold my first two manuscripts -- Boo Who? (Scholastic) and Pen Pals (Grosset & Dunlap) -- both published in 1997.

Now I write and illustrate full time. It is a great job. When I think of a idea, I write it down so that whenever I finish one story I'll have a bunch of ideas waiting that I can begin working on next. I especially love reading and writing funny stories, weird stories, and animal stories.

Books I've written and illustrated include:

Cinderdog and the Wicked Stepcat Albert Whitman, 2001 (ages 4-8, picture book)
Abby Cadabra, Super Speller, Grosset & Dunlap, 2000 (ages 6-8, easy reader)
How to Find Lost Treasure in All Fifty States and Canada, Too Aladdin, 2000 (ages 8-12, NF)
The Haunted States of America Aladdin, 2001 (ages 8-12, NF)
Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars, 2001 Grosset & Dunlap (ages 6-9, NF)
Happy Monster Day! Scholastic,1999
Pen Pals Grosset & Dunlap, 1997 (ages 6-8, easy reader)
Ivy Green, Cootie Queen Troll, 1998 (ages 7-9)
Red, Yellow, Green What Do Signs Mean? Scholastic, 1998 (ages 4-8)
Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book Scholastic, 1997 (ages 1-6)
Eek-A-Boo! A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book Scholastic, 2000 (ages 1-6)

Books I've written include:

I Have A Weird Brother Who Digested A Fly, Albert Whitman, 1999 (picture book)
Light the Candles, A Hanukkah Lift the Flap Book, Puffin, 2000
The Garden That We Grew Viking/Puffin, 2001(ages 4-7, easy reader)
The Pizza That We Made Viking/Puffin, 2001(ages 4-7, easy reader)
Scat Cats! Viking/Puffin, 2001(ages 4-7, easy reader)
Backwards Day, Scholastic, 2000
Why Do Dogs Bark? Puffin, 2001(ages 6-8, easy reader)
Why Do Cats Meow? Puffin, 2001(ages 6-8, easy reader)
The Spooky Sleepover, Grosset & Dunlap, 1999 (ages 6-8, easy reader)
Pajama Party Grosset & Dunlap, 1998 (ages 4-7, easy reader)
Space Dogs on Planet K-9 Troll, 1998 (ages 7-10)

Books I've illustrated include:

Breakout at the Bug Lab Dial, 2001(ages 6-8, easy reader)
Hector's Hiccups Random House, 1999
Shadows Everywhere Scholastic, 1999
Hot Cha-Cha! Winslow Press
No Fair! Scholastic, Hello Math
The 100th Day of School Scholastic
Ten Little Ballerinas Grosset & Dunlap
I Love You Mom Troll
I Love You Dad Troll
My First Book of Sign Language Troll

Answers to questions people sometimes ask me:

1. Where do you get your ideas?

I get ideas many different ways. Sometimes, ideas just pop into my head. I also listen to and watch the people around me for ideas. I read to get ideas. I daydream to get ideas. When I get an idea, I write it down in an idea notebook, so I won't forget it. I think ideas are the easy part of writing. I get lots of ideas for books all the time. Developing them into a book with a beginning, middle and end is the difficult, time-consuming part. The idea is important, but an idea isn't a book until it has been developed into a story that works as a whole from start to finish.

2. When and why did you decide to become an author and artist?

I've been writing and reading stories all of my life. I didn't concentrate on writing children's books until around 1990. In 1991, I began regularly submitting manuscripts to publishers.I began writing because I had story ideas that I thought would make good books. I've always known I would become an artist--ever since kindergarten.

3. Why don't you illustrate all of the books you write?

I haven't had time to illustrate all of the books I write, but I've usually been very happy with the work of the illustrators who have illustrated my books. I wasn't happy with the art in a couple of books, but I don't think it's fair to try and control the artist, so I keep out of the artist's way as much as possible. I continue to illustrate books by other authors as well. I have just as much fun illustrating a book written by someone else as I do illustrating books I write. As long as the story is good, illustrating it is fun.

4. Did you like school when you were a kid?

Most of the time. I got bored during the summer, so I was glad when school started. I loved getting a new lunchbox and choosing what I would wear the first day. But then after about 2 weeks of school, I wished for summer again. I like to read and I made good grades, so school was mostly fun for me.

5. How do you develop your characters and plot?

I've usually already decided on a main charater and 1/4 to 3/4 of a plot before I start writing a story. I just write and work out the rest of the characters and plot as I go along. I have a college art degree, but have no formal training as a writer. I learn the rhythm and structure of stories by reading books and thinking about how they are structured. I also read instructional books about how to write.

6. What is your favorite part about writing? Why?

Getting an idea; finishing a book manuscript; getting an offer from a publisher; and seeing my book in a store are all big thrills. The process of writing is not always fun. But I'm driven to write, and time flies when I'm writing.

7. How hard has it been to get your works published?

It was hard to sell the first manuscript. Then in 1996, I suddenly sold three manuscripts in three months to Grosset & Dunlap and Scholastic.

8. What are your favorite books besides the one(s) you have written?

Spaceship Under the Apple Tree; Martha Speaks; The Giving Tree; A Friend for Dragon; Chrysanthemum; Ruby the Copycat; Marvin Redpost--Is He A Girl?

9. What do you look for in a good book?

Something I think is funny or a feeling I can strongly identify with. A good idea and a memorable plot and characters.

10. Do you have kids or pets? Hobbies?

No kids, but we do have a great cat, who thinks he's our child. For hobbies, I like to hike, bikeride, and read.

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Groundhog Weather School 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
SDReaderCA More than 1 year ago
I read to second graders and this book was a huge hit. Lots of good science and factual information presented in a funny, clever way with good illustrations. I have recommended it to everyone with kids in the right age group.
GreenFairyLV More than 1 year ago
As a mom I'm always looking out for a book that helps explain the holidays, especially the not so commercialized ones. This book is great. It keeps the child's interest while teaching the true facts about groundhogs and why we celebrate Groundhog Day. I learned a few thing too, I had no idea their were other famous groundhogs beside Punxsutawney Phil. There is even a groundhog, Wiarton Willie from Canada, who tries to predict which team will win the Super Bowl. The book is written in a funny entertaining way so kids don't lose interest with the facts they are being given about groundhogs and the cute illustrations compliment the story completely. This book is entertaining, informative, funny and beautifully illustrated. The book is also long enough that by the end of it your child will know why we celebrate Groundhog Day and what a groundhog actually is.
Reader-Writer-Mom More than 1 year ago
My 4 year-old daughter and I both loved "Groundhog Weather School"! How DO groundhogs predict the weather?? Why, they go to Groundhog Weather School, of course! It's a witty and fast-paced book, packed cover-to-cover with amazing, richly-detailed illustrations; tons of interesting "aha!" facts; a funny, simply-told narrative; and quirky, engaging, lovable animal characters. In a word: adorable! My daughter and I spent at least a half-hour during the first read, checking out all the comical sidebars and clever jokes. A winner for any season!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago