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Over and Under the Snow

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,427 Ratings  ·  277 Reviews
Over the snow, the world is hushed and white.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter, safe and warm under the snow.
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published 2011 by Chronicle Books
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Over and Under the Snow by Kate MessnerOwl Moon by Jane YolenThe Mitten by Jan BrettWaiting for Winter by Sebastian MeschenmoserLost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Picture Books About Snow Animals
1st out of 109 books — 22 voters
Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnellBalloons Over Broadway by Melissa SweetRedwoods by Jason ChinA Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts AstonAn Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston
Best non-fiction picture books
24th out of 354 books — 115 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 15, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids; Parents
Recommended to Carmen by: New York Times Book Review
Over the snow, the fire crackles, and sparks shoot up to the stars. I lick sticky marshmallow from my lips and lean back with heavy eyes. Shadows dance in the flames.

A girl is skiing in the woods with her parents, and she notices animal life and sometimes discusses it with her father.

This was really good, I was surprised. For a book about subnivean life, it is surprisingly cute and interesting.

The illustrations are great - I especially like the animals. The cute fat rabbit, cute fat little mice
Lisa Vegan
May 14, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children fascinated by fauna; for learning about nature; those who like father-daughter stories
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I love these children’s picture books that are non-fiction and about nature.

This is a wonderful book about various animals and how they survive during winter, those under the snow and those over the snow, and some that utilize both.

The story proper is a lovely daughter-father story and the illustration depict winter and the animals in a lovely way.

I especially appreciated the detailed author’s note at the end, which includes a list of all the animals mentioned in the book, complete with their i
A beautifully told, beautifully illustrated and (bonus!) informative story about the animals that live under the snow (and some that live over it) in the winter time. It's a great introduction to the "subnivean zone" -- the network of tiny open spaces and tunnels between the snowpack and the ground. The back matter tells more about each animal--the only thing I would have liked is information about the parts of the country in which the animals can be found (for example, white-tailed deer are hig ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A little girl goes cross-country skiing over the snow with her father, while he points out the various animals that live under the snow. Knowing that little animals are burrowing around in the area between the snow and the ground makes me hesitant now to walk out into my yard or into a field for fear of stepping on something unseen! What interested me the most was the picture of the queen bumblebee hibernating in the snow. I didn't know that queens survive alone until spring, when they start a n ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Margaux rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Part nonfiction, part narrative about a girl and her father on a cross-country skiing adventure, this book discusses the hidden life in winter's subnivean zone, or the area right above the ground and below the snow.

I loved the cool illustrations and the feeling of calm that the white space in each picture provides. There's also a helpful index in the back that talks about the subnivean layer and gives a brief infobite on the animals mentioned.
Lyrical and informative text combines with serene and evocative illustrations for a compelling package. As the narrator and her father ski slowly through the woods, they see evidence of animals above the snow. When the father tells his daughter of the "secret kingdom" under the snow, the reader is presented not only with the goings-on above the snow, but with pictures and text that show how other animals adapt to the winter season. From the shrew and the vole making their way through tunnels, to ...more
Mar 14, 2012 P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: jfic
I love the art - it has elements of collage, screen print, and papercut, as well as pencilled parts adding accents. Each page has an animal living under the snow and the design makes great use of the wide open space above and the cozy space below the ground - we follow a girl and her dad as they ski across the country over the snow, talking about what lives under the snow. Snowflakes fall, and little touches of color are everywhere, although the palette remains largely blues, whites, beiges, bla ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Great for a discussion on Winter animals
Shelves: picture-books
A wonderful story about animals found over and under the snow during the Winter time which opens up the discussion to animals that hibernate. I also learned that the layer between the snow and ground is called the "subnivean zone". Full of fascinating facts and chalked full of usefull links to other books on the subject.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Jul 02, 2012 Kelly H. (Maybedog) rated it liked it
So so. Words don't feel like a child's voice. Interesting info about the animals but kind of dry. Illustrations are fine but nothing special.
Cathy Ballou Mealey
Mar 03, 2015 Cathy Ballou Mealey rated it it was amazing
Do you think you know all about snow? This winter we have certainly had many, many opportunities in Boston to watch the fine flakes fall, to slide and glide, to shovel and plow. But I guarantee that even if you feel a little weary of the ice and cold, Kate Messner’s delightful book Over and Under the Snow will restore your appreciation for the magic that takes place in nature’s secret subnivean kingdom.

A girl enjoying a day of cross-country skiing with her father narrates the story, describing w
Aug 09, 2013 Joannah rated it liked it
“Over the snow I glide, past beech trees rattling leftover leaves and strong, silent pines that stretch to the sky. On a high branch, a great horned owl keeps watch. Under the snow, a tiny shrew dodges columns of ice; it follows a cool tunnel along the moss, out of sight.” So goes this unique picture book following a child and her father as they cross-country ski through the woods in the middle of winter. The pair makes observations about the world they see around them, and inferences about the ...more
Nov 23, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Despite the fact that snow has fallen, throwing a blanket of quietness across the world, an observant young girl notices how active many animals are; for instance, the deer and a fox in the forest as she and her father ski. Beneath their feet, though, there are all sorts of living things, including shrews, voles, bullfrogs, a black bear, and even a queen bee, using the snow as protection from the cold or waiting out the winter beneath it. The mixed media illustrations are impressive, showing the ...more
Carol Royce Owen
May 08, 2012 Carol Royce Owen rated it it was amazing
My only complaint with this book is it took me too long to get it. What a treasure! It was unavailable for a while, but it finally came yesterday. I had to laugh though, because I had checked on it so often, and thought maybe the order wasn't coming, so somehow I ended up ordering three copies. I usually get angry at myself when I do this, but not this time. I know this will be a book that many of my colleagues will want to borrow for their classes. There is so much it can be used for, between i ...more
Sarah BT
Feb 18, 2013 Sarah BT rated it really liked it
When it snows where do the animals go? Told through parallel verse, we see what happens above the snow and underneath. The narrator is skiing over the snow and reader's get a glimpse of what is going on underneath her feet as she makes her journey. The text and illustrations are both beautiful and the book ends with an author's note discussing how animals survive in the snow. There was a point where a fox jumps on a mouse scurrying under the snow which might be a bit unsettling for young sensiti ...more
While cross country skiing in a winter woods a father and daughter explore and imagine the critters living over and under the snow. Christopher Silas Neal's retro inspired illustrations peak the imagination as he reveals the layers we see and those we can't. Kate Messner's text perfectly engages curiosity, giving just enough detail to entice readers to want to learn more. Helpfully, the back Author's note give brief detail about each animal pictured (who knew about Queen bees' lonely winters?) a ...more
Britt Guild
Mar 25, 2014 Britt Guild rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a beautiful book with lovely illustrations of how the natural world continues to go on under endless layers of snow. The reader learns about hibernation to survival in a different winter climate. I like how the author emphasizes how amazed we humans should be at the world that still goes on beneath our feet under the snow. There is a secret world under the snow that we cannot hear or see, but it is a world that draws us in to understand.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels
Meg Allison
Engaging story about the world that exists, quite literally, under our very noses in the winter deep. Retro feeling illustrations bring to life the carefully detailed nuances of hibernation, winter nesting, and cold-weather sleeping of North Country animals. Kate Messner's research shines through subtly and nuanced. She doesn't brow beat children with facts, but chooses to tell her story and let the facts illuminated the magic that is the forest in winter.

End notes give us more information abou
Grass_Roots Books and Music
Are you looking for a holiday book for a little one who has all the classics? Look no further! Over and Under the Snow is filled with wintery goodness starting with its beautiful color palette and retro mixed-media illustrations. This book takes a seemingly desolate monochromatic world and brings it to life with excitement, adventure, family-bonding, and basic science and natural history marvelously woven together. You will enjoy learning about the secret worlds of animals living above and below ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 11, 2013 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title page doesn't say "illustrated by" or "pictures by," it says "art by Christopher Silas Neal - and that's an apt description. These (like many of the pictures in children's literature) aren't merely illustrations, each page is really a moving and mysterious work of art. Using a style and color palette reminiscent of a 1940s Little Golden Book, Neal's art brings to life the cold, "subnivean" (I learned a new word!) world of winter both above and below the snow. The prose isn't quite as be ...more
Julie Esanu
Jan 17, 2012 Julie Esanu rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely story of a young girl cross-country skiing with her father into the woods, where she encounters signs of animals both over and under the snow. Messner's text combined with Christopher Silas Neal's illustrations provide readers with a glimpse of animal activities in the winter. Additional information about the animals included in the book is provided in the endnotes, making this a wonderful addition to any classroom or school library for animals and winter units. I plan on pairin ...more
Oct 11, 2011 katsok rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous picture book with simple and beautiful text. A girl and her father are cross country skiing over the land. She notices the animals around her, both over and under the snow. Two of my favorite parts were the end notes, where Kate goes into a little more detail of all of the animals discussed in the book, and the author note, where you learn that Kate wrote the first draft of this on a school bus coming back from a field trip. Both will be great to share in writing workshop. Thanks for an ...more
Paul  Hankins
Instant classic as the book hits shelves. Everyone I know is raving about Kate's newest picture book.

In the secondary classroom, use Over and Under the Snow for mini-lessons in internal rhyme, alliteration, and effective use of formatting/organization ("While over is happening, under is happening. . .").

Kate's invitation to read more books on the subject demonstrate her attendance to other authors' contributions upon this subject, a good example to show to older readers.

The Library Lady
This would pair well with Jane Yolen's Owl Moon for a school unit. This is a thoughtfully told book, with muted colors and probably won't work as well with young preschoolers as it will with older children, especially early elementary school. Lovely.
Apr 30, 2016 Maja rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll-538
Gliding through the seemly quiet winter forest with her father, a young girl learns all about the secret world underneath the snow. While she sees a few animals still active during this cold time, more have taken refuge underneath the warm snow. First she sees a red squirrel sneak underneath the snow, who will she find next?

Deeply descriptive words invite the reader to experience the story with many different senses while. The last portion of the book goes into greater detail on the animals see
Dec 04, 2012 Shawna rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated and informative book about animal life in winter. A father and child spend a day skiing, observing the animal life around them, as the father describes what animals live below the snow. A very peaceful book. I appreciated the Author's Note and additional resources. Will be a perfect addition to my winter read alouds.
Sharon Amolo
What a great story, it made me wish I lived in a place that received lots of snow instead of in Georgia. We're lucky if we get more than 2 inches in a year. I love books that mix fiction and facts, since you get a great story and learn something at the same time. I definitely learned something new from the author's note about the subnivean zone.
Dec 05, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is my favorite winter book that came out this year. While it's sweet and a little sentimental, which tends to appeal to parents, it's also creative and adventurous, which makes it appeal to kids. Even the author notes about the animals' hibernation patterns makes for a fascinating read.
Mar 05, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Everything about this book is beautiful: the paper it is printed on, the illustrations, and the text. I also learned something to boot- that secret kingdom under the snow is called the subnivean zone.

A perfect winter/nature/snow storytime read.
Margo Jantzi
Jan 18, 2014 Margo Jantzi rated it it was amazing
We love pairing this book with the Discovery Education clip of the fox diving into the snow. It makes the book come alive!
Regina L
Apr 09, 2015 Regina L rated it it was amazing
It’s a snowy afternoon a father and daughter are out cross country skiing. Meanwhile, there is a flurry of activity – or sleeping! – going on all around them beneath their feet and up in the trees, from animals big and small! Author Kate Messner has created a beautiful story that will forever make you think next time you are out in the snow about what’s going on with nature in the wintertime! Looking out into the winter landscape you may think everything is quiet and still but it is really a who ...more
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Kate Messner is an award-winning author, TED 2012 speaker, and former middle school English teacher. Her books for kids include THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.,SUGAR AND ICE, and EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury Dec. 2010) the MARTY MCGUIRE series (Scholastic), SEA MONSTER'S FIRST DAY, and OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW (Chronicle, Books). Kate also wrote SPITFIRE and CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE, bot ...more
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