First Snow in the Woods

While some Monroe County residents grumble about the deer that tread too closely to their homes or raid their gardens, I relish seeing the deer emerge from the woods that surround my home. My son recently reported that he had seen six deer of various sizes while he was playing in our front yard. They observed him cautiously for a moment before stepping quickly across the lawn, confident that his remote controlled car would not harm them!

It's a little easier to spot the deer now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. But if you don't have a chance to see deer right in your neighborhood, the picture book First Snow in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy features stunning color photographs that provide a vivid and intimate way to admire deer and other wildlife that live in the woods. The book also profiles the changing seasons as different animals describe how they prepare for the arrival of winter weather.

Recommended for ages 3-8, this book was published in 2007, and last year a companion DVD, First Snow in the Woods: the Movie, was released. The movie adds songs and a story about an anxious scarecrow that preschoolers may not fully appreciate. But, as a whole, the movie includes beautiful and entertaining scenes of deer, squirrels, owls, and a variety of other other woodland creatures (as well as a humorous crow who sounds like he's just flown in from New York!) that are sure to appeal to preschool and younger school-age children.

The movie also includes special segments with the directors who describe how they made the movie, and the challenges of photographing wild animals in their natural habitat. (They also include a collection of silly woodland knock-knock jokes, narrated by the woodpecker, of course!)

First Snow in the Woods is part of a trilogy produced by wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick. Follow the changing seasons with Stranger in the Woods, a winter-wonderland adventure, and then Lost in the Woods, a story for spring. Each title includes a companion DVD, written and directed by Laura Sams and Robert Sams, siblings and cousins of Carl Sams. For more information about the Sams and their work, to see additional images and hear sounds of woodland animals, and to find some related activity sheets, visit their website

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