Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day!

Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day!

Abby Levine
Illustrator:  Nancy Cote 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Albert Whitman & Company, 1998   ISBN: 978-0807530597

For years Gretchen’s Great-Uncle Gus went outside on February 2nd to see if he could see his shadow. When he did see his shadow, his eager audience from the town of Piccadilly would be sad because that meant that they would have six more weeks of winter. If he didn’t see his shadow then everyone would cheer and celebrate because it meant that “Spring was around the corner.”

   Now Great-Uncle Gus is too old to go out to look for his shadow and Gretchen, his only relative, must take his place. The problem is that Gretchen is a shy groundhog and she cannot bear the idea of having to stand out there with people watching her. She is not going to “Go Out.”

   The people of Piccadilly are very upset when they hear about Gretchen’s decision. Picadilly has always had a Groundhog Day. How will they be able to anticipate the weather if they don’t know what to expect? Gretchen is bombarded with letters, emails, visitors, and phone calls. Everyone wants her to reconsider her decision. Everyone wants her to come out on February 2nd. By February first, the town is flooded with visitors and press people. Everyone prepares for a Groundhog Day event even though they don’t know if it is going to happen. Inside her cozy little home poor Gretchen feels worse and worse with every passing hour. Then, late at night, Gretchen gets a special visitor.

   In this delightful picture book children will meet a groundhog who has a huge responsibility resting on her shoulders and an even huger problem. Facing your fears is never easy and it is interesting to see how Gretchen deals with a very upsetting situation.

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