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Groundhog Stays Up Late

Ill. by Jean Cassels

Groundhog Stays Up Late

Groundhog decides he's not going to hibernate. The forest animals warn him that when winter comes, he'll be lonely, cold, and hungry. But Groundhog ignores their advice. When winter arrives and Groundhog starts to suffer, he dreams up a trick that makes Groundhog Day come early.


Convinced that he's been missing out on wintertime fun, Groundhog refuses to hibernate, even though his forest mates – Squirrel, Bear, Badger, Rabbit, Rox – warn that he'll be lonely, hungry, and reneging on his unique responsibility. "How else will you wake up on February second and look at your shadow so we'll know when spring is coming?" reasons Badger. When their prediction proves right, Groundhog fools them into waking up and sharing their food hoards by convincing them that spring has come a month early. His friends get their revenge by painting a groundhog-shaped shadow on the ground. ("It looked a little strange and it was a funny color, but it had to be his") so that the rodent retreats to his den and misses spring altogether (the final page, however, finds him ready to revel on New Year's Eve). Cuyler's restrained, unadorned storytelling bubbles with comic winks, and its leisurely pace will encourage even antsy youngsters to snuggle into her cozy prose rhythms. Cassels's handsome gouache paintings seem inspired by the stylized design aesthetic of vintage murals; even though many of her pictures occupy a half page or less, they possess a commanding sense of scale and drama. As for Groundhog, he's a terrific foil for all this visual elegance – a Falstaffian figure sporting a jaunty red scarf and with a nose for fun. – Publishers Weekly


Groundhog prefers playing with his forest friends to preparing for winter, and despite warnings from Bear and Badger he doesn't bother to collect food or locate a shelter. He finds the first snow exhilarating, but building snow forts and throwing snowballs isn't much fun all by himself. Finally, desperate for food, he resorts to a fake declaration of spring, which brings out everyone for a party. A sudden snowstorm unmasks his trick, so the other animals plan a trick of their own–a painted shadow that fools Groundhog on February 2. Cassels' brightly colored gouache illustrations capture Groundhog 's exuberance and the details of his cozy forest home. Children who like to test limits will identify with Groundhog 's attempts to bend the rules to suit his purposes and be glad that despite the consequences of his actions, Groundhog 's spirit is never broken. Pull this out for Groundhog Day story hours. – Booklist


A fun-loving groundhog avoids getting ready for winter. When Squirrel, Badger, and Bear urge him to hibernate so that he may awake February 2 and look at his shadow, Groundhog declares that he does not need to hibernate to do that. As his friends curl up in their winter homes, Groundhog plays until he gets lonely, hungry, and cold. When he cannot arouse his friends from their dens, he gets the idea to trick them out by announcing an early spring. The animals appear and begin to share a meal and celebrate until snow begins to fall and a check of the calendar reveals that it is only January 2. When Groundhog awakes February 2, the other animals have prepared a trick to play on him. The illustrations are appealing and are framed in blocks with simple borders. The blocks vary in size, shape, and number on the pages but are formatted in an appropriate way for the young reader. The illustrations support the text with brilliant clarity and quiet additions. The color tone changes from fall to early spring. A two-page horizontal block of only trees showing the changing season is included on select pages that enriches the eye appeal of the book. With its humorous story and natural illustrations, this is a good read-aloud book for young children. – Children's Literature


In a twist on the classic tale of the Grasshopper and the Ants, Groundhog must find a way to get his hibernating friends to share their food stores with him after he has played away the fall and early winter. On Jan. 2nd, he climbs to the top of the hill where the sun is shining and the snow is melting, and proclaims that spring has come early. His friends all emerge and feast-until snowflakes start to swirl around them and Squirrel realizes what Groundhog has done. In retaliation, his friends decide to trick him. When he emerges from hibernation on Feb. 2nd, he sees his "shadow" and goes back to sleep, not realizing that spring has already arrived. Cassels's gouache paintings are remarkably detailed and lifelike-blades of grass, tree bark and the hairs on each animal's coat of fur all stand out with amazing clarity. At the same time, she has given the characters the anthropomorphic qualities that will help them appeal to the youngest readers-a brilliant balance that make the illustrations truly memorable. Great for a read-aloud in classrooms. – Kirkus Reviews


Who wants to spend all winter sleeping? Groundhog would rather spend his autumn days playing with the other woodland animals than preparing for winter. While his disapproving friends retreat to their warm and cozy burrows, he remains awake. Once the snow begins to fly, he plays in it alone, building snowmen and forts, but soon becomes hungry and cold. In early January during a brief thaw, the mischievous animal tricks the other forest inhabitants into believing that spring has arrived early and they celebrate with a wonderful feast. When his disgruntled companions discover the ruse, they resolve to get back at him, and, because of their trickery, he ends up sleeping through spring. The following winter, an unrepentant Groundhog stays up late once again. Crisp gouache paintings show the cuddly animals standing upright, and the energetic woodchuck proudly sports a red scarf and mittens. The colors and textures of the changing seasons are beautifully portrayed. – School Library Journal

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