Winter Sleep – Picture Book Review

A Hibernation Story by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss
Illustrated by: Cinyee Chiu
Published on: September 17, 2019

I really loved reading this story. The illustrations and story were so peaceful and calming that I really took my time as I read it, drawing in all the beautiful touches the illustrations put in to enhance the story.


In this cozy bedtime story, follow a child and his grandma through a winter landscape to explore how the Earth goes to sleep for winter. Spot the sleeping animals as the tale unfolds, then learn about their hibernation habits from the information pages at the end.

Co-authors Sean Taylor (picture book author) and Alex Morss (ecologist, journalist, and educator) offer a gentle introduction to the concept of hibernation. In the frosty, quiet forest, the snow blankets the ground and the trees have shed their leaves. Where have all the animals gone? Are they asleep too?

In each cutaway scene, see what the child cannotโ€”that underground below his feet are dens with sleeping creatures, and within the hollow trunks of trees, animals are nesting. After the story, annotated illustrations explain the hibernation facts for each animal and what they will do when they wake up for spring.

Cozy up as you expand you and your child’s knowledge of the natural world.


It is summer and a little boy is visiting his grandmother’s house. A house that has a beautiful, lush flower garden and is in walking distance to a pond, small hills, and a little forest. The birds are singing and the butterflies and bees are flying by. They sit down in the middle of this lush forest and are at peace looking at all the nature.

The boy comes back in winter and asks to go see the secret place they had visited in the summer, but when they do he notices that nothing is the same. Everything is gone and dead. That’s when the grandmother explains to him what different creatures do during the winter. She shows him locations of where they might be and how they protect themselves during this time.

First, I loved the illustrations. They were so soothing to look at – varied colors in the summer, followed by shades of white, brown, and grey for winter. I need to learn more about art so that I can say definitively that they are watercolor pictures with pencils, but unfortunately I don’t know enough so I can only guess. But, I loved how the story provided more than just what a typical picture book might include: bears and ground squirrels. But in Winter Sleep, we learn about dormice, fish, insects (earwigs, moths), frogs, bats, and more. At the end of the story is more information about hibernations. It provides a full page of what it means, but then the following pages shows even more animals and insects and how they hibernate – such as woodchucks, hedgehogs, gila monsters, leopard geckos, sand lizards, Everest jumping spiders (this one was rather interesting to read about), earthworms, and many more. The last section of the book provides a page identifying ways you can help – even at your home.

Recommended to all.

Rating: 5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group – words and pictures for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

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