Lynn: Funny how things change! The last two years have brought record-breaking winters here in Michigan and all that we snowbound people wanted last year was an early spring. As I write this year, it’s 45 degrees with dense fog and misty rain. Ugh—I think I prefer snow! Will the groundhog help me out? That question is the subject of a charming, funny book by Kristen Remenar: Groundhog’s Dilemma (2016).
Groundhog’s friends are lobbying him to choose their preference when he makes his big announcement. Some ply him with freshly baked pies, others offer a place on the baseball team. In vain, Groundhog protests that he doesn’t MAKE the weather, he just reports it. No one listens, and poor Groundhog is sure he will lose friends no matter what he says on February 2! He consults his friend, Owl, who tells him wisely that he got himself into this situation and he is going to have to get himself out. Groundhog’s decision to tell the truth and face the consequences turns out to be the right call. Matt Faulkner’s big, bright illustrations are are packed with lots of funny details that reward close inspection. This picture book is a great choice beyond a shadow of a doubt!
Cindy: Even worse than six more weeks of winter is the possibility that Groundhog won’t show up for duty! In Groundhog’s Day Off (2015) by Robb Pearlman, Groundhog is sick of people not caring about him. All they want is a weathervane, he says, feeling taken for granted and unappreciated. Not this year: he packs a suitcase and heads for a spa. Panicking, the mayor holds tryouts for a replacement, but none of the other animals can do the job. What will happen on February 2nd? Brett Helquist’s humorous illustrations infuse just the right amount of humor without detracting from the theme of appreciation. I’ll have plenty of time to figure out who I’ve taken for granted while I am shoveling snow for the next few months. If only there were JUST six more weeks of winter left here in Michigan. Sigh.