Saturday, November 14, 2015

Groundhog's Dilemma

Groundhog's Dilemma
written by Kristen Remenar; illustrated by Matt Faulkner
2015 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
*On sale Dec. 2nd

"I just call it like I see it," he mumbled, heading back into his den for a good, long nap. 

Trying to make everyone happy will wear you out. Ask Groundhog. Regardless of his prediction on February 2nd, he's going to make someone unhappy. Groundhog tries to tell his friends that he has no effect on the weather, but his message falls flat. When Groundhog sees his shadow, Squirrel is mad because he has to spend six more weeks of winter cooped up inside with his juveniles. Baseball manager Sparrow complains that it would have been nice to start the season early. Meanwhile, Bear and Hare are delighted with six more weeks of winter. With the arrival of spring, Groundhog's friends decide to shower him with niceties in hopes of getting an outcome in their favor come next February 2nd. The lovely Hare brings extra berries and makes a pie so she can wear her winter coat for six more weeks. Sparrow promises a position on the baseball team to get an early spring. Groundhog enjoys these gifts and makes promises he knows he can't keep. It's hard to disappoint your friends. With February 2nd fast approaching, Groundhog truly has a dilemma on his paws. It will take some thinking to work his way out of this one.

When you see the cover, you may be thinking, "It looks like a cute book for Groundhog Day." But dig a little deeper. I'll argue that it's a book for all seasons. What we have is a clever rumination on friendship. Groundhog has to decide how he's going to deal with not making everyone happy. This is an excellent topic for children. I have students who give things away in order to have someone be their friend. Reading this book would help them think about true friendship. I will call it like I see it: This is a terrific book!

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