The Secret of the First One Up

Overview

Kindergarten-Grade 2-When Lila, a young groundhog, objects to going to sleep for the winter, Uncle Wilbur tells her to rest so that she can try to be the first one to wake up in the spring and discover a big secret. She is indeed the first groundhog to awaken and quickly runs up the tunnel and outdoors, where she is greeted by all of the animals that do not hibernate and learns from them how important her shadow is. Lovely, warm illustrations, created with gouache, colored pencils, and acrylics, depict the ...

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Overview

Kindergarten-Grade 2-When Lila, a young groundhog, objects to going to sleep for the winter, Uncle Wilbur tells her to rest so that she can try to be the first one to wake up in the spring and discover a big secret. She is indeed the first groundhog to awaken and quickly runs up the tunnel and outdoors, where she is greeted by all of the animals that do not hibernate and learns from them how important her shadow is. Lovely, warm illustrations, created with gouache, colored pencils, and acrylics, depict the groundhog household as well as a variety of winter animals. A short note on Groundhog Day is appended. This book can be used for holiday celebrations or as an addition to a storytime or unit on hibernation. —-SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

After a long winter's sleep, a young groundhog named Lila wakes up before anyone else in her family, goes outside, and learns about her important role in predicting the arrival of spring. Includes information on the American tradition of celebrating Groundhog Day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Groundhog Day gets a first-class treatment here, thanks to Arno's (I Love You, Dad) assured storytelling and Graef's (Meet Kirsten) softly penciled, cinematic pictures. Young Lila the groundhog, a reluctant hibernator, hears from her Uncle Wilbur that there's a "secret" known only to the first groundhog who emerges from the den in the spring. Traditionally, Wilbur has been the first, but Lila goes to sleep determined to unlock the mystery herself. "Above Ground the days passed," writes Arno. "Storms roared, branches snapped, snow fell and melted and fell again." When Lila awakens and rushes outside (Uncle Wilbur colludes with her plan by pretending to slumber), she indeed discovers the "secret": all the animals "who stay awake for the winter" have gathered by the den entrance, waiting anxiously for a groundhog to look for his or her shadow. Graef builds the tension by portraying the chilly morning scene from the animal audience's perspective and from Lila's, both of which underscore a situation with big stakes-both meteorologically and emotionally. When Lila announces that her shadow is nowhere to be seen, the animals' relief at winter's exit should resonate with readers from all climes. Arno explains the historic roots of the tradition in a concluding author's note, and acknowledges the counterintuitive logic behind the signs ("On this special day, bad weather brings good news"). Ages 5-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Lila is a little groundhog who doesn't want to go to bed. This isn't just any old bedtime we are talking about. This is that long sleep that we call hibernation, when many animals stay warm and safe during the cold days, sleeping away the lean winter months. Her entire family is drowsy, but not Lila. Then she has a talk with her uncle Wilbur, a groundhog who has always been the one to wake up first after the winter sleep. Being the wise groundhog that he is, Uncle Wilbur tells Lila of the time when he, too, didn't want to go to bed. He also tells her about the "secret of the first one up." Of course Lila wants to know more but her uncle won't say another word about it. The only way Lila is going to discover the secret is to be the first one up herself. It is a pleasure to share in Lily's wonder as she learns what Uncle Wilbur has been doing for so many years. With an evident joy in nature, tradition, and folklore, the author has created a delightful tale. Paired with Renee Graef's artwork, this is a book to read again and again, especially at the times of the year when Lily would be going to bed and when she would be waking up to discover the great secret entrusted to all groundhogs. At the back of the book there is a very interesting author's note about the American tradition of Groundhog Day and how it came into being. 2003, Northword Press, Ages 5 to 8.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-When Lila, a young groundhog, objects to going to sleep for the winter, Uncle Wilbur tells her to rest so that she can try to be the first one to wake up in the spring and discover a big secret. She is indeed the first groundhog to awaken and quickly runs up the tunnel and outdoors, where she is greeted by all of the animals that do not hibernate and learns from them how important her shadow is. Lovely, warm illustrations, created with gouache, colored pencils, and acrylics, depict the groundhog household as well as a variety of winter animals. A short note on Groundhog Day is appended. This book can be used for holiday celebrations or as an addition to a storytime or unit on hibernation.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559718677
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,015,919
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.96 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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