groundhug day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 |
I like to send my friends valentines every year (friend love is love!), but I almost missed doing it this year because Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of Olympics season! I’m a fan of sports, and I especially love to watch the Olympics for women’s sports excellence. Today’s featured picture book doesn’t feature sports, but it does have spring holidays, friends, and overcoming fears with help from those friends. Let’s talk about the adorable Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by Christopher Denise.

groundhug day by anna marie pace cover
Moose is having a Valentine’s Day party, and all his friends are so excited! Everyone except Groundhog, that is. If Groundhog sees his shadow outside, he’ll hide in his hole for six more weeks and miss the party! Determined to help their friend join them, Moose, Squirrel, Bunny, and Porcupine put their heads together and come up with a plan. But will it be enough to get Groundhog out to play? This heartwarming picture book by the author of Vampirina Ballerina, with adorable illustrations by Christopher Denise, is sure to be a hit, whether readers are bursting for spring or snuggling up for six more weeks of winter. 

Moose, Squirrel, Bunny, Porcupine, and Groundhog are all fast friends, and Moose is planning a Valentine’s Day party. Moose wants all his friends to come. Squirrel wants to have Valentine balloons. Bunny wants Valentine cards. Porcupine offers Valentine hugs (ouch!). But while the animals are planning, their friend Groundhog comes out of his hole on Groundhog Day and sees his shadow! How will they get him to join the party? Following some helpful demonstrations, Groundhog overcomes his fears, hugs are offered all around, and he reappears six weeks later in time for a St. Patrick’s Day party.

Groundhug Day is a celebration of friendship featuring incredibly cute animals against the backdrop of spring holidays. It’s the sort of picture book that will be a big hit with parents, teachers, and librarians as well as kids – there’s subtle humor, a good message, and it’s seasonally appropriate for several months of the year. Will it appeal to ALL kids? I can see how the cover could prompt some adults to hand it to girls especially, but it’s a picture book about animals for small children – it’s meant to be read aloud, and it’s appropriate for everyone. As for the animals, a couple use male pronouns, and another is coded as male (Moose wears a cozy sweater and reading glasses), so there’s inclusion baked in.

Let’s talk about the art! Christopher Denise has nailed cute and cozy in this book, and it’s charming. Also, fun. Bunny and Squirrel are especially delightful with their big, liquid eyes and general fluff. But the book is not just animals – the pages are populated with home interiors meticulously decorated and filled, and landscapes depicting mountains, meadows, and trees. No detail is left untended (including the endpapers!), so the overall feel of the book is lived-in, and loving. It’s a treat.

In all, Groundhug Day is an appealing, enjoyable picture book with potential staying power due to its themes and exceptional art.

Recommended for: kids ages 4-8 and their adult readers (if the kids are on the younger side), and anyone looking for a spring holiday-themed read.

Fine print: I received a copy of this title from the publisher for review consideration. I did not receive any compensation for this post.

1 comment:

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Awwww, this looks so sweet! I'll have to look out for it to give my baby nephew -- he's just starting to actually follow plots of books, so I'm looking ahead to books for slightly older kids. I want to be ready as he hits each new reading level! :p

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