This book has a special place in my heart for two reasons: First, it was photographed entirely in Northern Michigan, where I grew up. Second, it was one of the first picture books we owned – given to Em as a baby gift less than two weeks after she was born. We’ve been reading it regularly ever since!
Written and photographed by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoik
Sams, Carl R. II, Photography, January 2000, Fiction
Suitable for: Ages 2-8
Themes/Topics: Animals in winter, mystery, snowmen.
Opening and brief synopsis: This wonderfully heartwarming winter story about forest animals’ curiosity and confusion over a snowman that has magically appeared in their woods, has become a festive favorite year after year.
Activities: Laura and Rob Sams, cousins of Carl Sams and creators of Stranger in the Woods: The Movie (which I ADORE!!), host this website which contains a wealth of curriculum activities based on the book. They also do school visits. From my point of view as a parent and a child of Michigan, however, I suggest building a snowman with your kids. Put some birdseed on his hat, give him a carrot nose and spread some carrots on the ground and see if any deer or other animals come to visit your “stranger.” 🙂
Why I Like This Book: Besides the stunning photography, the fact that these wildlife photographers (husband and wife) were able to write such a captivating story to go with their photographs is miraculous. When you read the book, it’s difficult that the whole thing wasn’t staged – it’s that good. Also inspirational for writers: this is a self-published book that went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and won many awards along the way. Additional books in the series, also self-published and also NYT bestsellers, are Lost in the Woods and First Snow in the Woods.Writing · Tags: Julie Hedlund, Michigan, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Winter, Writer