Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise by S. Blackaby and C. Segovia

Oh, how I wish I'd written about Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise the day it arrived. If you're still looking for last-minute gifts for little ones, I think Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise is a dandy.

In Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise, Brownie Groundhog has a picnic with her friend the fox and a new friend, Bunny.  It's December, ice is rimming the pond and Brownie is sleepy.  When the fox asks, "What's next?" Brownie says it's time for her nap, she's going home to sleep till spring.

The fox is not happy.  What will he do all winter while his friend sleeps?  This part made me chuckle:
"You'll be fine," said Brownie.  Each word puffed out of her mouth on a tiny cloud.  "You can do wintry things."  Brownie packed up her basket.  "Just don't wake me up.  And don't eat Bunny.  She's company."
Brownie goes off to take her nap and chats with Bunny, but he's cold and not sure what to do with himself.  Bunny says it's too bad fox doesn't have a "snug scarf for doing wintry things," which reminds the fox that Brownie has one.

He and Bunny go to Brownie Groundhog's house to borrow Brownie's scarf and the fox leans over "the bump in the bed," which is Brownie, to as if he can borrow her scarf. This is fun, too:
Brownie's answer came out sounding slurry and drowsy. "Beaky white, yam slippy," she said. "Doony dizzer!"
Bunny tugged the fox toward the door.  "Let's go," Bunny whispered.  "Brownie just said, 'Be quiet, I'm sleeping! Do not disturb!' "
"Nuh-uh," said the fox. "She wants me to look in the dresser.  But don't worry. I'll be extra quiet."
The fox just happens to find a wooly sweater and a string of lights, which gives him a great idea.  He bothers Brownie a couple more times to ask where things are located (which results in a few more funny garbled sentences by Brownie and differing translations by the fox and Bunny), then he and Bunny go off to make a wintry surprise.  When they're done creating their surprise, the fox makes a terrible noise hammering on Brownie's door to hang a wreath and Brownie is fully awakened.  But, then the fox and Bunny show Brownie Groundhog their surprise.  They've decorated a tree with lights and ribbons.  They march around the tree to show it to Brownie from every angle and then they have a feast.

By the end of the feast, Brownie is ready to go back to bed.
"Sweet dreams," said Bunny.
"See you in February," said the fox.
"And not one second sooner," said Brownie, and she shuffled off to bed.
In the illustration of Brownie heading off to sleep, there's a new sign on Brownie's bedroom door that says, "Do not disturb.  I MEAN IT!"  Bunny and the fox leave Brownie to rest and Bunny surprises the fox with a last piece of pie.

I read Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox in January of 2011 and loved it so much that even though it's recommended for preschoolers, I liked it enough to keep my copy to read to the cats and said, "Don't limit yourself" to the recommended age range. Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise left me with that same feeling.  I love this sweetness and creativity of the characters.  Yes, the fox wakes up his friend in the process of completing his festive project, but when he's finished with the surprise and the feast, the fox and Bunny politely leave and it's clear that a new friendship between the fox and Bunny has developed as they worked together.  Wonderful!

Highly recommended - Another sweet Brownie Groundhog story, in which two animals work together to create a surprise that helps the fox become accustomed to his new companion and adjust to winter without his best friend.  I love the illustrations in Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise.  They're colorful and the animals are very expressive but at the same time the illustrations have a nice, un-cluttery look that is very pleasing to the eye.  I'd read it to a plant if there were no other options (confidentially, my two kitties are not the great listeners that our Miss Spooky was, but they still get read to, now and then). It may be too late to grab this one for Christmas but it would make a super book to buy for no reason at all, apart from the desire to read something with a winter theme to your child . . . or your pet . . . or the mirror.  Whatever works.

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. This sounds adorable :)

    1. It is so cute, Becca, the kind of book that makes you long for little ones to read to!

  2. Anonymous6:10 AM

    There's PIE in the book! I really need to be better about recording when I find pie in a book...


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