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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,247 ratings  ·  235 reviews
In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night), discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature's beauty ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2014)
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First thing: there is a fox on the cover and a fox on each page and yet there is not a poem to a fox; why? OK, the poems are about animals surviving the cold winter in nature. They are good poems. Then on the side they give a block of text on how the animals actually survive the cold with facts. My niece loves the facts and found this book interesting. She had lots of questions.

I enjoyed the art and the poems. This is not a story really. It is a collection of poems about surviving the cold.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Lovely illustrations accompany poems that educate. How do animals cope, where do they go in winter are subjects addressed.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I honestly didn't care for Sidman's poems; many were just too cutesy for my taste. HOWEVER . . . on the opposite page is a description of the featured creature, and the ways it survives the winter, and those bits were FASCINATING. I even learned of a critter I didn't know existed - springtails, aka "snow fleas." The other thing that makes this book a winner is Rick Allen's stunning artwork.




Kristine Hansen
I'm giving a lot of 5-star reviews today, and poetry seems to be especially inclined toward good ratings. But I do truly love picture books that introduce real poetry to children in a beautiful way, using words they can understand that still sing on the page. I loved the bits of information on the sides of the pages, though I could have done without seeing the massive snarl of snakes or trying to picture a brumate of 20,000 snakes. Ick!
Alyssa Becker
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold; written by: Joyce Sidman, illustrated by: Rick Allen; Copyright 2014, 31 pages
*Poetry #1 (NCTE Noteable Poetry Books)*

This book is a collection of 12 poems about various living things in the wilderness during the season of winter. Briefly, they cover snakes, trees, voles, beavers, and many more animals. These poems of a variety of styles tell how animals survive in the winter, and really what they do with their time while they wait for spring to return
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
One of ALA's 2015 Children's Notable Books--
This collection of poems written about tundra wildlife in the winter is beautifully written and illustrated with intricately detailed linoleum prints. I very much enjoy the way each poem is accompanied by an informational "aside" text block/blurb, offering factual information about the animal or plant that each poem is about. There is also a glossary of terms at the end of the book to describe larger words that may be unfamiliar to young readers.
Joyce Sidman has a way with words. Lyrical verses and gorgeous illustrations fill the pages of this book. It also provides an insight on how plants and animals cope with the cold, winter months. Overall, "Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold" is an excellent poetry collection for the young and old alike.
Becky B
A collection of poems about animal activities during winter.

I loved the illustrations in this book. I found the poems so-so. They didn't quite sing to me. I did like the notes on the critters on the side of each page. Overall a good pick if you're studying animal hibernation or seasons, but I'd pick a different collection for poetry units as most of these are free verse.
Laura Harrison
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. I have been a fan of Joyce Sidman's for years. She is just incredible.
Nicole Santiago
Joyce Sidman uses imagery-saturated verse alongside nonfiction prose to celebrate the Michigan winter survival of animals and plants like moose, bees, and trees. The piece spans twelve poems and prose, beginning in winter and ending in spring and focusing on some creatures that are not commonly known- like skunk cabbage.

“Snowflake Wakes” is poem about snowfall and the form of the piece has short lines so that they appear to be falling down the center of the page. The rhyme of the “Big Brown
Here's something to help beat the heat of summer! This beautiful picture book uses poetry, informational text, and stunning artwork to tell readers the ways that different animals deal with winter. I love the mix of poetry with factual information. This is an awesome mentor text for both types of writing! According to the title page, "The images for this book were made through the unlikely marriage of some very old and almost new art mediums. The individual elements of each picture (the animals, ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
One of the things that I have always thought about in the winter is how animals survive and what they do. Winter Bees Other Poems of the Cold answers this question that I have had. This is written be a Newberry Award Winning poet and was a great read. I think that this book is great because it answers questions that so many children have. They want to know about animals and how they live. This picture book does just that, while using the beautiful poetic form.

I think that this book would be
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
First, the text by Joyce Sidman is superb. Her poems eloquently capture the voices of a young moose with his mother, a bevy of tundra swans, falling snowflakes, trees, honeybees and more. Along with the poems are informational paragraphs—filled with fascinating details but still very readable—about each creature or element of nature.

Second, the illustrations by Rick Allen are gorgeous. According to a blurb on the copyright page, he created nearly 200 linocut prints of the individual elements,
Holly Mueller
The cover of this beautiful, informative book captured my interest right away. It's gorgeous! The rest of the book doesn't disappoint. Sidman's wonderful poetry and Rick Allen's absolutely captivating illustrations combine to make this a must-have for the classroom library. Informational paragraphs follow up each poem, teaching us about tundra swans, snowflakes, honeybees, voles, chickadees, and more. I'm looking forward to sharing this with my students in December when I do a winter unit on ...more
Joyce Sidman never fails to delight and spark curiosity. The illustrations are simply breathtaking...just as a snowy winter day can be. Her expert combination of poetry and informational text give insights into how a variety of animals (as well as a few plants) survive the winter. Particular favorites of mine were What Do the Trees Know?, Big Brown Moose, Winter Bees and Brother Raven, Sister Wolf. I also love that Sidman uses a variety of poetry forms. Well worth reading and savoring.
An exquisite collection of animals-in-the-winter poetry which is both esthetically pleasing and highly informative. Sidman's well-crafted verse and Rick Allen's art are detailed and precise, making this a picture book that can be appreciated by the young scientist as well as the young poet. Absolutely lovely!
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stellar in every way. The poetry was wonderful, each one a small gem, and replete with evocative images of winter. Rick Allen's illustrations are so beautiful they took my breathe away, the animals so life-like I expected them to breathe. The informative text was excellent too and learned new things.

I'd give this more stars if they were available!!!
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1kbbk
Perfect combination of beautiful poetry, fascinating text and wonderful illustrations. My son makes me read "Snake's Lullaby" to him every night before he goes to bed and now he claims to love snakes. I think this is one that everyone would enjoy.
Matt Forrest Esenwine
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable. Joyce brings together a nicely balanced blend of forms and beautiful imagery to capture not only the essence of the winter creatures, but the mood of the forest during the season. The illustrations perfectly complement her poetry, too.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, poetry
Gorgeous poetry with illustrations that make you say, "Ah..." Joyce Sidman, I love your work, your expressive language your perfect structure and your wonderful connections between fact and frolic.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
SO GOOD!!! We all loved it and learned a TON! This book is a GEM! Hibernaculum--what a cool word!
Seung Lee
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Nice poems and good illustrations. It was a bit hard for my kids to relate though.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, winter, poetry
A collection of poems with beautiful illustrations and fun educational facts. Love this book!
Laura (Book Scrounger)
Beautiful poems and illustrations -- full review here:
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
this was cute and cozy.
Linda Gill
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How do animals of the frigid north survive and "brave" the long and cold winters?

Not only is this book interesting and insightful, but it is artistic and poetic. It brings the science of animal survival in harsh winters of earth's northern hemisphere into focus with a delightful poetic flare and extremely beautiful artistry. This is a book not to be missed.

Ms. Sidman creates a poetic picture about animals of the tundra on one side of each double-page spread. On the page across, there are
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
The poems here are about various living things (animals, plants, etc) in winter. Each poem is on a two-page spread with an illustration and a sidebar that includes more information about the subject of the poem.

Sidman uses a wide variety of poetry styles here. The book names and defines the pantoum and triolet, but there's a poem composed of couplets, some free verse, and some quatrains. One poem made really noticeable use of alliteration. I think this would be a fun set of poems to do analysis
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Winter is the one season when I crave specific writing. I think it might be in part a hunger for the snow that I remember from my home state of North Dakota and that I see only intermittently in my adopted state of North Carolina. While I still rejoice in being able to go outside without a heavy winter coat in January and experiencing only a comfortable temperature difference when getting out of bed in the morning, my appetite for reading about snowstorms and blizzards increases every winter. ...more
Todd Strader
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Why I LOVE this book...

The Author. Joyce Sidman is one of my absolute favorites, rare air, top tier, with only a couple of others. To be honest though I have never met her, spoken with her or even traded tweets, I consider her a bit of a mentor. In fact, it was from her that I got what I consider to be my shtick- blending poetry (or poetic fiction) with brief, informational prose. I think it keeps the steAm in STEM.

The Art. This book is a visual feast. It is a slow read. I say this not because
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, seasons
Find the spread after the title page, and the spread just before the glossary, and then flip back and forth a few times. You're welcome. (In case you haven't seen the book, autumn turns to winter and then winter turns to spring on the same tree branch).

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night is my favorite of the Joyce Sidman books I've read so far, in no small part due to Rick Allen's illustrations. Here, the illustrator's note says, he combined hand-colored linoleum block prints and digital
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The Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman is today's foremost nature poet for children. Accolades for her books include two Caldecott Honors, a Lee Bennet Hopkins Award, winner of the Claudia Lews Award, and many stars and best of lists. For her award-winning body of work, she won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. Visit
“What Do the Trees Know?

What do the trees know?
To bend when all the wild winds blow.
Roots are deep and time is slow.
All we grasp we must let go.

What do the trees know?
Buds can weather ice and snow.
Dark gives way to sunlight's glow.
Strength and stillness help us grow.”
“Dream of the Tundra Swan

Dusk fell
and the cold came creeping,
cam prickling into our hearts.
As we tucked beaks
into feathers and settled for sleep,
our wings knew.

That night, we dreamed the journey:
ice-blue sky and the yodel of flight,
the sun's pale wafer,
the crisp drink of clouds.
We dreamed ourselves so far aloft
that the earth curved beneath us
and nothing sang but
a whistling vee of light.

When we woke, we were covered with snow.
We rose in a billow of white.”
More quotes…