Footprints in the Snow
By Mei Matsuoka
Matsuoka, M. 2007. Footprints in the snow. NY: Henry Holt and Company.
Wolf was curled up in his house on this cold winter night looking through his shelves for a nice book on wolves. All the wolves in his books were nasty, scary, greedy and mean, so Wolf decided he would write a book about a nice wolf. He wrote about a wolf one winter morning who left his house for a nice walk. When he spotted footprints, he decided to follow them to find out who left them. None of the woodland creatures he encountered, however, would tell him who left the footprints; they all thought he wanted to eat the source of the prints. Finally the wolf found the source, a duck who was swimming in the pond. Despite his best intentions, wolf began to imagine how tasty that duck might be. Suddenly, Wolf awoke, and he was no longer writing a book; he was taking a bath! Thankfully his story didn’t end like all of those other stories with mean wolves. But when there was a knocking at the door, he was surprised to find a set of prints, leading into the woods, and he wondered whose they were.
ATOS Book Level: 2.8
Interest Level: Lower Grades (LG K-3)
Beautifully illustrated, this picture book illustrates how sometimes you can’t escape your own nature. Wolf certainly can’t – even when he tries to write a book about a nice wolf, he comes to find that nice wolf still wants to eat ducks. The chronology in this book can be a little complex, as the wolf goes from writing a story, to suddenly being in the bathtub, to being presented with the same scenario that began the book ending it as well. The language is simple and the font is big, often curving with the action on the page. The narrative follows just the wolf, although it is a little bit unclear whether the wolf in the actual book and the wolf in his story are one in the same.
Learning about animal nature, how the wolf is not necessarily “bad” for following his nature. Can also be used in conjunction with other books that feature wolves to talk about tropes of good and evil, how wolves are often featured as evil/conniving characters.
1.0 General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).
1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts
a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background
b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres
c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in
both formal and informal situations
3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.