Winter is upon us here in Indiana, and although I do not enjoy the cold, icy winds, I do love the beauty of the fresh fallen snow. The whiteness blankets the barren lands and brown, sleeping ground. As I looked out my window at some gently falling flakes, I was reminded of a beautiful book, Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Samms II and Jean Stoick. First Snow in the Woods is a companion book.
Carl R. Samms II and Jean Stoick are fantastic photographers of nature’s beauty. I’m intrigued by the brilliance of the photos. If you have an Elmo, you students will enjoy seeing the photos in an enlarged fashion. My favorite picture is of the cardinal in flight.
The snow has fallen softly in the woods, but something is amiss. The animals sense a stranger and begin to share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns. This book shows such great voice. “Who-hoo’s in the woods? Where? Where did the jays say? Where is he?” asked the Owl of Many Questions. Your students can predict who the stranger might be. The narrative creates a sense of tension among the animals. As the reader, you gain an empathy for the animals, who are trying to be brave. In the end, a snowman is the stranger. The photographs will draw your attention in.
To learn a little about the authors, view the below YouTube video. I think your students would enjoy seeing the authors in person.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Stranger in the Woods:
- Point of View – the animals share their perspective
- Non-fiction brought alive
- Publishing – the placement of the words to add to the movement of the animals
- Punctuation – creative to show a sense of tension: “You’ll not be volunteering me! No sir-ree!” said the scared rabbit. “Is…is he watching me?”