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The secret of the first one up
Hiskey, Iris

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Groundhog Day gets a first-class treatment here, thanks to Arno's (I Love You, Dad) assured storytelling and Graef's (Meet Kirsten) softly penciled, cinematic pictures. Young Lila the groundhog, a reluctant hibernator, hears from her Uncle Wilbur that there's a "secret" known only to the first groundhog who emerges from the den in the spring. Traditionally, Wilbur has been the first, but Lila goes to sleep determined to unlock the mystery herself. "Above Ground the days passed," writes Arno. "Storms roared, branches snapped, snow fell and melted and fell again." When Lila awakens and rushes outside (Uncle Wilbur colludes with her plan by pretending to slumber), she indeed discovers the "secret": all the animals "who stay awake for the winter" have gathered by the den entrance, waiting anxiously for a groundhog to look for his or her shadow. Graef builds the tension by portraying the chilly morning scene from the animal audience's perspective and from Lila's, both of which underscore a situation with big stakes-both meteorologically and emotionally. When Lila announces that her shadow is nowhere to be seen, the animals' relief at winter's exit should resonate with readers from all climes. Arno explains the historic roots of the tradition in a concluding author's note, and acknowledges the counterintuitive logic behind the signs ("On this special day, bad weather brings good news"). Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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