Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Gail Gibbons
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Holiday House, 2007   ISBN: 978-0823421169

Like many holidays, Groundhog Day was born out of ancient traditions and customs. Long ago people celebrated a spring festival in early February, and others cleaned their homes and lit candles as a way to prepare for the arrival of spring. It was believed that the best way to tell when spring was going to arrive was to watch what animals did. If hibernating animals awoke in February and saw their shadow then there would be “several more weeks of winter.”

In the past, people would watch bears, hedgehogs and badgers to see what they would do. Then in Pennsylvania, European settlers began to watch their local groundhogs in early February to see how they would behave. In the town of Punxsutawney, observing their groundhogs became a tradition and a yearly celebration, and in 1886 Clymer Freas decided that February 2nd should henceforth be called Groundhog Day.

In this entertaining picture book Gail Gibbons not only tells her readers about the history of Groundhog Day, but she also describes what happens in the town of Punxsutawney every year. In addition, she tells her readers a bit about groundhogs, describing their biology and their behavior.

Young Groundhog Day fans will find this book interesting and enjoyable to look at.