Is there anything better than a snow day? Not if you’re a school age child or a young mastodon. Because whether you’re a 21st Century kid or a 10 foot tall mammal from the Pleistocene Epoch, it’s all the same. A snow is a fun day, and a fun day is a good day to share with friends. And that’s the premise behind a new picture book, Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure by Colorado author Amiee White Beazley.
When a young mastodon awakens one morning to a snowy world (and all the freedom that a snow day entails), she bolts out of bed and finds her best friend, Sloth. Together they set out on a snow day adventure to climb a nearby mountain. Or as our large furry protagonist puts it,
“I have an idea. I’m going to be the first mastodon to climb to the top of the mountain!”
“Don’t you mean the first SNOWmastodon?” joked Sloth.
“Yes! Call me Snowmastodon! The greatest adventurer in the world!”
Sloth grinned from ear to ear.
“Come with me Sloth,” she pleaded. “Pleeeeaase? Let’s do this together.”
And so they do. Setting off together they hike as far as they can without help. And just when they need assistance, along comes another citizen of the Ice Age, Beaver. Beaver lends them a hand and they carry on. Until they need more help and they find another friend. And so it goes. Snowmastodon and Sloth progress up the mountain getting aid from friends at every turn until they make it to the top. After a bit of rest and a bit of reflection from the top of the world, the two friends invent a quick way down and arrive at the base of the mountain just in time to go home to their families.
The Snowmass Ice Age Excavation
A lovely story about cooperation and friendship, I found Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure, especially interesting because of the paleontology connection. Drawing inspiration from the 2010 Ice Age excavation in Snowmass Village, Colorado, Beazley populates her book with the ancient animals found at the Ziegler Reservoir dig site. The Snowmass Ice Age excavation began when Jesse Steele, a bulldozer operator working on the expansion of a small reservoir, spotted something that looked like a bone. Sure enough, closer examination revealed not only a juvenile Columbian mammoth, but the remains of mastodons, sloths, giant beavers, salamander, bison and more. The find was so significant that the reservoir expansion was temporarily halted so that scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science could continue the excavation.
Whimsy, With a Bit Of Nonfiction Too
On my first read through the book, I didn’t realize how true Beazley is to the actual animals found at the dig. I was surprised to find a salamander helping Snowmastodon and Sloth. But sure enough, when I got to the end of the book, I found an explanation and it’s one of my favorite parts of this book. Recognizing that most readers probably have little or no knowledge of Ice Age mammals and the Ziegler Reservoir dig, Beazley provides an extended Author’s Note that includes descriptions of the animals found at Snowmass and more.
Perfect For Little Explorers
Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure is a perfect book for young children who love animals and dinosaurs and are fascinated by fossils and past ages. But you don’t have to like bones, or have any interest in science, to enjoy this book. The full-color illustrations by Paul Antonson are absolutely adorable and full of good-nature. Readers familiar with the Snowmass area will recognize Mount Daly as the location for Snowmastodon’s and Sloth’s adventure. But even if you’ve never set foot in Colorado, the universality of the story and the gentle reminder of the importance of friendship make Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure a very sweet read.
More About The Ziegler Reservoir Dig
To learn more about the Snowmass Ice Age excavation and the fossils that were discovered, please visit snowmassiceage.com. At this time, the fossils are preserved at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, but the Snowmass Discovery Center on the Snowmass Mall has displays, a half-size mammoth and videos about the dig. The Discovery Center is open through April 15th from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and is free. You can also visit this website to download brochures or a snowmastodon poster and to watch video from The Discovery Channel.
Amiee White Beazley has graciously donated a copy of Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure as a giveaway to readers of The Brave Ski Mom. To enter, please leave a comment. One winner will be chosen randomly from all comments received on Tuesday, March 20th. For a second entry, please “like” Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure on Facebook (and let me know that you did, please!). Good luck!
To facilitate this book review, I used a PDF of Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure. As always, all opinions expressed are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
© 2012 – 2014, braveskimom. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.