Recommended for readers 4-7
I’ve been holding onto this one for too long, and I need to tell more people about this book. I met Sara Beth Videtto at KidLitCon this past November, and snapped this book up ASAP. Just looking at the cover, it looks like it’s a perfect readalike for our Eric Carle fans, right? It is! It’s a sweet story about a turtle and his friend, Bear, who experience the four seasons and all they have to offer. But it’s Turtle’s first go-round, so Bear lets him know what to expect from each one. We learn the duo’s favorite parts of the seasons, like the soft, ticklish green grass in the summer and the crisp fall air; we learn how turtles hibernate, and we are happy when the friends reunite in the spring. It’s a sweet story about the seasons and friendship.
This is a great read for preschoolers to Grade 1; it would fit into a storytime on the seasons as easily as it would hibernation. I’d read this with Denise Fleming’s In the Small, Small Pond as easily as I’d read it with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? for the pre-k to kindergarteners, and with Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Snow, and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s Pond Walk for kindergartners to first graders.
But the best part about this book is the art. Sara Beth Videtto creates layered artwork that gives the book such a unique look and feel. She prints up pictures from nature – dirt, grass, bark, leaves – cuts them into strips and shapes, and glues them together; then, she scans them into her computer to type the words onto the pictures (more on that in a second).
This is a Read and Find Storybook, so it’s loaded with things for kids to read and find! If you look at the bear and the turtle, you’ll notice each animal has its name, cleverly included within the artwork. Identifying words for the nature around them crop up here and there, too. The words for Bear, Turtle, and the parts of nature within the story text map to the textured artwork, too! I’ve taken some photos from my copy of the book to show off the artwork a little better.
I know I’m gushing, but this is such a great book and my Kindergartner loves it. Which makes sense, since Ms. Videtto is a former K-3 teacher. She is the nicest person, taking the time to talk with me about her book and answer any questions I had, but even better? Once my kiddo read the book with me, HE had questions. A lot of them; all about the artwork. He never asks questions like that! So I took to The Twitter and asked Sara Beth all of his questions, and she got back to me ASAP, with a full explanation (with pictures!) of how she creates her artwork. My little guy was so excited to get a response from an author; she’s helped create a lifelong fan and a lifelong reader. And for that, I’m grateful.
Sara Beth Videtto has a website with extra information and activity sheets to accompany Turtle’s First Winter, along with links to her blog and info about school visits. Most importantly, you can buy a copy of her book straight from the website! She’s got some teasing info about her next two books, which I’m very excited about (there’s an octopus!), and links to Turtle’s fan club page on Facebook. I’m so happy to have met her, and thrilled to talk this book up.