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Groundhog Gets a Say


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About the Author

For many years, Pamela Curtis Swallow led a double life, working as both a writer of books for young people and as a school librarian. But what a perfect combination that was. She was able to keep in touch with children and young adults, as well as with the books they love. Pam now writes full-time.

Pam grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, the daughter of two educators. With her father as her principal and her mother on her school's faculty, Pam had to try to stifle her giggle and sit still ... she's still trying. Pam was an avid reader of horse stories and fully expected to have a career as a cowhand, riding the western ranges.But through many twists and turns, which included studies at Skidmore College, New York University, and Rutgers University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Pam became an English and history teacher, and then a school librarian. It has been during her library years that Pam began to write books. Her earliest stories were set in her school library and told of the escapades of her library gerbils.Pam lives in Hunterdon County, New Jersey with her husband, two dogs, two cats, and Charlotte the groundhog. Raising children, working in schools, and being a keen observer with a fertile imagination, Pam has had no shortage of story material from which to draw. She usually has several projects going at the same time, for ideas are always perking at different stages of doneness.


Like many celebrities, Groundhog thinks he's gotten a raw deal from the media. "Yesterday I was big news, a star, king of the mound! Everyone wanted my weather report. Today... nothing!" With help from an adoring documentarian and fellow groundhog, the star of February 2 makes his case for deeming all of February "Groundhog Appreciation Month." Swallow (It Only Looks Easy) has marshaled a host of impressive tidbits about the groundhog (aka woodchuck or whistle pig); even more important, she brings them to life with factual yet funny analogies ("My head is like a submarine periscope-my eyes, ears and nose are set up high so I can see what's around" or "We're not all that quick, as animals go. But we can run as fast as an average fourth-grader") and a snappy conversational tone. Two bystanders, a crow and squirrel, offer running commentary ("He's already the only animal with a national holiday... unless you count the turkey," observes the crow. "But look where that guy ends up at the end of the day," says the squirrel). Brunkus will be known to many readers as the illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books-and they may even recognize the same combination of spunk and vulnerability that's made the heroine so visually memorable. A nifty way to open up the idea of a minor but fun holiday. Ages 5-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

K-Gr 3-It is February 3 and Groundhog has decided that his holiday should last longer than one day. While telling the facts about his species to crow, squirrel, and a hog reporter, he reveals that groundhogs "can move about seven hundred pounds of dirt and rocks in one day," and that they are clever builders of burrows, they run, climb trees, and are studied by scientists. Convinced of the creature's talents, the reporter declares, "You're the Hog! Operation Groundhog will start immediately. The world will know the Hog truth." The humorous text is completed by Brunkus's finely executed, animated, watercolor-and-colored-pencil drawings.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

A remarkably informative book with lots of read-aloud and classroom potential. (The Horn Book)

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