Monday, February 2, 2009

Hey Phil! More Winter?

It's Groundhog's Day! Here's some facts I bet you didn't know:
  • The first Groundhog's Day was held in the 1800's.
  • Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip.
  • The first trip to Gobbler's Knob occured on February 2, 1887.
Hill, Susanna Leonard.
Puxsutawney Phyllis.
Holiday House: New York.

Ages: 5-7
Genre: Fables, Folk Tales, Myths, Holidays
Guided Reading Level: L


Phyllis is not your ordinary groundhog... for one, she's a she! She also can read all the signs of an early spring when even her uncle, Punxsutawney Phil can't even recognize them! Phyllis hears the chickadees, smells the sweetness of spring, and notices there are no shadows when Uncle Phil agrees to take her along to see what the world looks like in February. It takes some convincing, but Uncle Phil finally realizes that the new Punxsutawney Phil is going to be Phyllis and not Phil Jr. or Pete!

This is a cute, contemporary tale of Punxsutawney Phil that shows girls that when they put their mind to something, they can accomplish just as much, if not more than the boys!

Swallow, Pamela Curtis.
Groundhog Gets a Say.
G.P. Putnam's Sons: New York.

Ages: 5-7
Genre: Fiction - Animal, Holidays
Guided Reading Level: M


While not really a story of Groundhog's Day, on Groundhog's Day children would enjoy the humor that's found throughout this story. This groundhog believes that he should be honored for a whole month instead of just one day. However, the other animals don't feel that's necessary, as only he and the turkey get even a day to be honored. Of course, because Groundhog wants to be honored for a whole month, he must justify his life to the other animals in attempt to convince them that he deserves a month of recognition!

This is a cute story that could easily be turned into a play for students, as there are many animals providing dialogue throughout as well as the groundhog, who, himself tells the story! It is also very full of information regarding the groundhogs life and could be incorporated into a unit of study on animals in winter or hibernating animals.

Miller, Pat.
Substitute Groundhog.
Albert Whitman & Company: Morton Grove, IL.

Ages: 2-7
Genre: Fiction, Holidays
Guided Reading Level: M


It's February 1 and tomorrow is Groundhog's Day, but Groundhog is sick and needs a substitute since the doctor ordered two days of resting in bed. All of Groundhog's friends show up to try out for the role of substitute groundhog, but they all struggle... one can't see, another is uncomfortable in small space. Squirrel can't stop going in and out of the hole. Then, an armadillo appears, stating to be from Texas. While Groundhog is unsure of Armadillo's intentions he agrees to let her try out as substitute groundhog. She fills the role perfectly and after determining that there will be six more weeks of winter and reporting the news to Groundhog, she even offers to take him to Texas where spring has already sprung.

This cute version of the tale of Groundhog's Day would be a welcome addition to any lower elementary classroom. It would also be a great discussion opener about the weather differences in different states!

Lesson Plans/Links about Groundhog's Day: