Book Review - Groundhog Gets A Say

Author:  Pamela Curtis Swallow
Illustrator:  Denise Brunkus
Publisher: Puffin (December 27, 2007 Original Release Date: 2005)
Pages: 40
Grades: 2nd to 5th grade
Source: Personal Copy

Description from GoodReads:
There's so much more to being a groundhog than just putting on a show once a year, and Groundhog has decided it's time to tell the world the Hog truth. With the help of a few of his fans, Groundhog is ready to tell everything about himself, from how loud he can whistle (loud), to how fast he can run (not fast), to how many things he uses his teeth for (a lot). Groundhog may be full of himself, but chances are good that, by the end of this book, you'll agree he's pretty wonderful! From the illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books and the author of the Melvil & Dewey books comes a funny, fact-filled look at what happens when one very proud groundhog speaks out.

What if a groundhog got his way and instead of being the center of attention for one day there was a whole month to celebrate groundhogs?   Pamela Curtis Swallow poses that thought in her picture book Groundhog Gets A Say which takes a creative look at all of the factual characteristics of groundhogs as told from Mr. Groundhog, himself.  In addition to the our dear friend the groundhog, there are three characters that provide side commentary.  I loved the snide banter between the crow and the squirrel as they listen to the Groundhog.  And then, you can't forget this geeky reporter/writer groundhog who admires the famous rodent and hangs on his every word.  

As I read through the book, I couldn't help chuckling when the Groundhog tells of his connection to being in a similar family as squirrels, especially when the sarcastic squirrel nearly falls over at the thought of being related to the star of this book.  However, despite the humor, the story truly is filled with great tidbits about all the abilities of groundhogs, especially about their skills as builders, and how their bodies slow down when they hibernate.  Brunkus' illustrations add to the text and the detail enhances what is being explained. 

Though this will be listed as suitable for 4 to 8 year olds, it would probably be best used in a classroom with 2nd to 5th graders.  There is quite a bit of detail and humor that younger children will not grasp or appreciate especially in a large group setting.  The book can also be used in conjunction with other books to celebrate Groundhog's Day, but could definitely be used to support units on animals or habitats. 

Have fun celebrating Groundhog's Day - and while you're at it - read a book!