2 Feb 2010

The Groundhog's Shadow

So today is Groundhog Day.

Well, it is in America. Here it's the second of February. No more. no less. Except for one thing. You know how in the movie of the same name Phil the egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman finds himself repeating the same day over and over again while covering the Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney? Well here on the 2nd February we find ourselves repeating something over and over as well. And do you know? It involves groundhogs!

Every year on Groundhog Day we read a special book. It's called The Groundhog and his Shadow and it is by Kurt Wiese. He's the guy who illustrated Ping and The Five Chinese Brothers and...well and lots of things. 300 other things in fact. He drew lots. And he wrote this too. In between illustrating. Maybe when he should have been sleeping. Don't know. Anyhow, he did it sometime. We like it too.

Father Groundhog dutifully arose on February 2 so that the people who were waiting for him wouldn't be disappointed, but it was a tiresome proceeding and when he saw his blue shadow stretching long over the sparkling snow he turned on his heel and went back to bed for another six weeks. Because that's what groundhogs do if they see their shadows, you know.

"I wish I could get rid of that shadow!" he muttered grimly into his frozen moustache (well it is spelled mustache because it is American, only that looked too funny so I had to change it.) At any rate, it didn't take much to persuade him to sell his shadow to a fox for a bundle of hay.

The fox tried to sell the shadow to the weatherman,but he refused to buy it:
"Such nonsense! Nobody really believes that old fairy tale, least of all a scientist like me, who has all his instruments working for him with great accuracy. Now get out of here before I call the dog-catcher."
So the fox ran off, leaving the shadow alone to make its own way back to its partner who so greedily had sold him for a handful of hay. But when Father Groundhog sees the blue thing coming toward him with outstretched arms he is frightened and runs away was fast as he can to get away. And the thing comes nearer and nearer...

It is cute and it is fun. It's frivolous lightweight fun. And probably twaddle. We've never missed it.It just wouldn't be Groundhog Day without it.

Happy Groundhog Day to all my American friends. Have you been outside to see whether you have a shadow yet today? Why don't you pop over to the official Website of the Punxsuatwney Groundhog Club and see what they've got planned? Perhaps you could join them.

Don't you just love the way that word looks in print...Punxsuatwney. Wow.
Old Groundhog stretched in his leafy bed.
He turned over slowly and then he said,
"I wonder if spring is on the way,
I'll go and check the weather today.
If I see my shadow between eleven and noon,
I then will know that I'm out too soon.
I'll crawl back in bed for six weeks more,
Pull up the warm covers and snore and snore.
But if no shadow gives me a scare,
I know that spring is in the air,
I'll wake my friends and wish them cheer,
With glorious news that spring is here."


  1. how cute! I wonder if our library has that book. thanks for sharing. & I wonder what the groundhog will discover?

  2. What a gorgeous book...oh Jeanne, you've done it again! I have no more room for books, they are every where around our little apartment...oh what am I to do?

    Get up stairs, that's what we're to do!

    Sorry, I'm spilling twaddle!


  3. As a child, in class we would cast our votes each year on whether the groundhog would see his shadow. Oh, the angst, the excitement! Only to be followed a few weeks later by the debate on whether March would come in like a lion or a lamb (I based my choice on the craft and which would be more fun to make).

    Though now I realize Spring always comes right on time I can't help but check in with the groundhog each year.

  4. I've never seen that one! I love it! Groundhog day ....six more weeks of what passes for Winter here along the Ohio River.....

  5. What a great book, Jeanne! We have enjoyed Kurt Wiese's work for years as illustrator of the wonderful Freddy the Pig books by Walter Brooks. I wonder if they would be considered twaddle....oh well, if so, they are engaging twaddle and lots of fun to read!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...