Groundhog's Dilemma

Groundhog's Dilemma

  • 1695

By: Kristen Remenar / Illustrated by: Matt Faulkner

Six more weeks of winter? Maybe. Maybe not.

When Groundhog sees his shadow, half the forest creatures are excited at six more weeks of winter, and the other half aren’t so happy. Hare and Bear are excited for more sleep, while Squirrel and Sparrow are tired of being stuck indoors.

The animals get the idea that they can bribe Groundhog to report the shadow verdict that they each desire. Before he knows it, Groundhog’s social calendar and stomach are both full as the animals shower him with treats and invites to baseball games, picnics, and bonfires. Groundhog begins to enjoy all the attention and time with his new friends, so he decides to play along and promises to return the prediction each animal wants.

When the next Groundhog Day arrives, a nervous Groundhog is torn between lying to maintain his popularity and telling the truth. He finally realizes that he can’t please everyone. He must resist peer pressure and truthfully report what he sees.

Matt Faulkner's vibrant illustrations are packed with fun details and speech balloons accompany the main text, adding another amusing layer to the animals’ interactions.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Kristen Remenar, author

Kristen Remenar is a children's librarian, writer, teacher, and national speaker on literacy. She is married to author/illustrator Matt Faulkner.

Read more about Kristen.

Matt Faulkner, illustrator

Award-winning children's book author and illustrator Matt Faulkner has illustrated twenty-nine books and written and illustrated seven more since he began his career back in 1985. Matt is married to author and librarian Kristen Remenar.

Read more about Matt.

Awards & Honors:

  • Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year 2016

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Announcing six more weeks of winter earns Groundhog both friends and grumblers.

When Groundhog sees his shadow, half the animals cheer, and the other half groan. But things really go downhill when spring finally arrives. Bear and Squirrel see nap-happy Hare give Groundhog a basket of berries as a gift for the extra weeks of slumber, so Squirrel invites him to a ballgame, hoping to cozen Groundhog into declaring an early spring next year. Though he initially protests, "I don't actually control the weather. I just report it," he finds that he's enjoying the attention. Pretty soon, Groundhog gives in, and his social calendar fills up with picnics, bonfires, and more ballgames. Stricken by conscience as winter nears, he goes to the barn for advice from Owl, who simply says—wisely—that Groundhog got himself into this problem and must solve it himself. When Groundhog Day rolls around again, he risks disfavor by telling the truth and invites his friends to his home for a warm-up and some snacks. And so they pass much of those six extra weeks of winter, comfortably. Faulkner's anthropomorphic animals and vibrant colors recall Uncle Wiggly, and the illustrations are packed with humorous details that repay rereadings. Remenar's graceful prose and the subtlety of her message, pitched to older preschoolers and early-elementary students, are a good match.

A sly and funny take on truth-telling and friendship.

School Library Journal

Every year on February 2, Groundhog emerges from his den and looks for his shadow, thus predicting whether winter will continue or if spring will come early. All of the forest animals have a preference about winter’s end, and soon, despite his protests about predicting and not controlling the weather, they begin to pressure him about his announcement. Groundhog likes all the attention, so he promises everyone that he will predict their preferences. When the big day rolls around, he is taught a valuable lesson about honesty and friendship. The colorful pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations, which take up the full pages and are quite detailed, keep the story interesting and work to bring the forest animals to life. Whimsical details, such as the baseball stadium named “Wiggley Field,” will keep adults entertained as well. Young readers will be able to predict the dilemma Groundhog is creating as he promises all of his friends different things, and they are likely to comment on his missteps. While the story may not be as profound as some tales of friendship, it fills a gap where Groundhog Day titles are lacking, and is enjoyable enough for adults and young readers alike to appreciate. VERDICT A nicely illustrated, satisfactory story that meets a need for Groundhog Day titles.


ISBN: 978-1-58089-600-9

ISBN: 978-1-60734-903-7 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-904-4 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 3-7
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2

Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade K. Standards 1-7, 10
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 1. Standards 1-4, 6, 7, 10

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