Best Children's Books About Hibernation

The Ultimate List of Books About Hibernation

Updated Apr. 9, 2019

Winter comes, the leaves fall, and all sorts of animals hunker down for their annual hibernation! For hard facts for your budding zoologist, you'll want to turn to the non-fiction section or an encyclopedia, but for a gentle introduction to the animals who hiberate and a little of what that's like, these are some of our very favorite books about hibernating bears (and snakes and skunks and more!)

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#1
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is such a fun story of best friends who can't always be together. Beatrice wonders where Bear has gone and when she finds out he is hibernating because it's Winter she decides to try and go along with him. When that proves to be difficult she finds another way to close the distance between the two friends. It is fun to read this with little ones who may not know what different seasons mean for different animals.

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Bear Is Not Tired book
#2
Bear Is Not Tired
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this story about Bear, who gets really tired as winter is coming (and he needs to hibernate), but he wants to stay up so he doesn't miss out on any of the fun. Bear's sweet family of ducks makes sure to include Bear as much as possible in their activities so he won't feel left out. :) This is a cute one!

Bear and his duck family do everything together. That is, until winter arrives. Bear is supposed to hibernate this time of year, but he doesn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. But can Bear really stay awake all winter long? Gentle humor and endearing illustrations bring a delightful twist to a bedtime routine that children and their parents will easily recognize.

Bear Snores On book
#3
Bear Snores On
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In a cave in the woods, in his deep, dark lair, through the long, cold winter sleeps a great brown bear.

Over and Under the Snow book
#4
Over and Under the Snow
Written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-8

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white, but under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many others who live outside in the woods during the winter.

Bear Can't Sleep book
#5
Bear Can't Sleep
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bear’s many animal friends try to help him get to sleep in time for winter hibernation in this companion story to Bear Snores On. It’s winter, and deep in the forest, Bear should be fast asleep. But when his friends come by to check on him, they realize that Bear is still awake! They brew him hot tea and sing him lullabies, but nothing seems to work. Can Bear get to bed? Or will he be up all winter?

Hibernation Station book
#6
Hibernation Station
Written by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story of the hibernation train station is a fun, imaginative way for kids to learn about hibernation by seeing all the animals that come aboard the train. They'll relate to the troubles of getting to bed and falling asleep and the peace that comes when one finally drifts off. :)

Everybody at the station! It’s time for winter hibernation! The sweet rhyming text of this book will calm even the most rambunctious kids and have them dreaming about what it’s like to hibernate. Young readers will be soothed and delighted as this story introduces them to different types of hibernating animals. The creatures on the train are preparing to snuggle into sleep, although with a passenger list that includes chipmunks, bears, snakes, hedgehogs, groundhogs, frogs, turtles, mice, bats, and more, there’s a lot of noise! Will the hibernating critters ever get to sleep? Take a trip to Hibernation Station to find out!

Old Bear Board Book book
#7
Old Bear Board Book
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Super cute board book illustrated beautifully by Kevin Henkes. There's not a ton here (it is a board book!) but I love the almost monochromatic spreads for each of the season pages as well as the easy-to-understand glimpse of hibernation this provides for little mind and little hands.

Come explore the four seasons with Old Bear

A Loud Winter's Nap book
#8
A Loud Winter's Nap
Written and illustrated by Katy Hudson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Tortoise does not like winter and as such is adamant about going to sleep. Unfortunately, he's not too adept at picking his hibernation locations because he keeps picking spots next to his friends who are enjoying their winter activities. With each thwarted attempt at sleep, he grows grumpier and grumpier, but then something happens that changes his mind about the snow and cold. Maybe winter isn't so bad after all.

Unmoved by his friends' attempts draw him out with singing classes and snowball fights, Tortoise tries to settle down for his annual winter nap and instead stumbles into a wonderfully icy experience.

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep! book
#9
Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!
Written by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

As winter comes and Big Bear prepares to hibernate, he keeps thinking he hears Old Man Winter giving him exhausting orders that prevent him from sleeping.

Shh! Bears Sleeping book
#10
Shh! Bears Sleeping
Written by David Martin and illustrated by Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations are more realistic than not, and even though it's told in rhyming verse that clips along at a soothing pace, I still felt like it was teaching the cycle of hibernation in an informative way—I really appreciated that it went through an entire year.

In the fall When leaves turn red Bears know soon It’s time for bed Comes winter Comes snow Bears are ready Bears go In their cave Warm and deep Winter is time For bears to sleep A lilting read-aloud text and stunning pictures combine to make an irresistibly appealing picture book that follows these fascinating animal friends through the cycle of the year. A page of facts about bears will answer young readers’ questions as they begin to explore the wonders of the natural world.

Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep book
#11
Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep
Written by Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Jane Yolen and illustrated by Brooke Dyer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When winter's snow creates a soft blanket of silence, nothing is more comforting than curling up under a cozy quilt. Whether slumber awaits in a warm bed, a rocking hammock, or a nest of leaves, the feeling of comfort and the infinite world of dreams are universal. This reassuring lullaby will calm any child to sleep, while Brooke Dyer's gentle illustrations show that the little details in everyone's niche truly make a place into a home.

Hibernate With Me book
#12
Hibernate With Me
Written by Benjamin Scheuer and illustrated by Jemima Williams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hibernate with Me is a gentle reminder that no matter how sad, small, or scared you feel, you are always worthy of love, and that brighter days are always ahead. Sometimes you feel small. Sometimes you feel shy. Sometimes you feel worried, and you might not know why. Sometimes you want nobody to see. Darling, you can hibernate with me. If you feel scared or lost, or even just a little shy, love means there will always be a place to hibernate together. A place that’s cozy, warm, and safe.

The Secret of the First One Up book
#13
The Secret of the First One Up
Written by Iris Hiskey Arno and illustrated by Catherine Bernard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Kindergarten-Grade 2-When Lila, a young groundhog, objects to going to sleep for the winter, Uncle Wilbur tells her to rest so that she can try to be the first one to wake up in the spring and discover a big secret. She is indeed the first groundhog to awaken and quickly runs up the tunnel and outdoors, where she is greeted by all of the animals that do not hibernate and learns from them how important her shadow is. Lovely, warm illustrations, created with gouache, colored pencils, and acrylics, depict the groundhog household as well as a variety of winter animals. A short note on Groundhog Day is appended. This book can be used for holiday celebrations or as an addition to a storytime or unit on hibernation. —-SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Go Home, Little One book
#14
Go Home, Little One
Written and illustrated by Cate James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Join Florence the hedgehog and she sets out on a winter adventure in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Winter is approaching, and Florence the hedgehog wants to go outside and play in the woods with her squirrel friends before it's time to hibernate. As it starts to get cold, Florence isn’t sure she’s having fun anymore. With the help of her friends, is she able to make it home in time for dinner and her long winter snooze?

Time to Sleep book
#15
Time to Sleep
Written and illustrated by Denise Fleming
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I felt like both the story and the illustrations were both a little lackluster, but if you're looking to help kiddos learn more about hibernation I like that this book shows lots of different animals that hibernate (snails, woodchucks, etc.)... not just bears!

Young children join Bear, Snail, Skunk, and Turtle as they try to avoid going to sleep for the winter, in a vividly illustrated bedtime companion by the creator of the Caldecott Honor Book In the Small, Small Pond.

Leaves book
#16
Leaves
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

This simple, charming story of a young bear’s first autumn is perfectly suited to board book format. Bear is surprised when the leaves start falling off the trees, but when he tries to reattach them, it doesn’t work. Eventually, he gets sleepy, and burrows into the fallen leaves for a long nap. When he wakes up, it’s spring-and there are suddenly brand-new leaves all around, seeming to welcome him. With its childlike main character and graceful illustrations, Leaves is a great way to teach the youngest children about the changing seasons.

Bear book
#17
Bear
Written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Preston Mcdaniels
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant brings the peaceful sounds, sights, and characters of the coast vividly to life in the eighth book of the Lighthouse Family series, in which the family meets a bear who has just woken up from hibernation! After a long winter cooped up in the lighthouse, Whistler and Lila are excited to go outside and explore. In the forest, they see some frosty vapor rising from a hole in the roots of a tree. They investigate and discover that it is a hibernating bear. The mouse children wait patiently for the bear to wake up and when he does, they invite him for breakfast at the lighthouse. But their new friend might not be quite done hibernating…

Snuggle Down Deep book
#18
Snuggle Down Deep
Written by Diane Ohanesian and illustrated by Emily Bornoff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow along as animal families snuggle down deep for the wintertime in this rhythmic and charming picture book perfect for little ones while they snuggle down for hibernation. It's wintertime, a quiet time, no creatures left in sight. They're dreaming, snoozing, snoring through each morning, noon, and night.... As winter arrives and fluffly snowflakes begin to fall, animal families gather together to snuggle down deep against the cold. They prepare and cozy up their dens, nests, and underground tunnels. Then they curl up nose to nose, cheek to cheek, snuggle down deep, and sleep.

Good Night, Baby Bear book
#19
Good Night, Baby Bear
Written and illustrated by Frank Asch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

As winter approaches, Mother Bear must bring a snack, a drink, and finally the moon to her cub before he can go to sleep in a cave.

The Curious Cares of Bears book
#20
The Curious Cares of Bears
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

One family of bears does all their favorite things before it's time to hibernate for the winter in this follow-up to The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits by the award-winning author and illustrator team of Douglas Florian and Sonia Sánchez, now available as a board book! The cares of bears are curious indeed, as you will discover, if you care to read. Join a family of bears as they have all kinds of fun throughout the seasons! From climbing up trees and stealing honey to giving bear hugs and lazing in lakes, these bears have many curious cares. But when winter comes, it's time to hibernate. Can the cares of these bears wait until spring? The rhyming text makes this story a perfect read-along book for storytime!

When It Starts to Snow book
#21
When It Starts to Snow
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Martin Matje
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Various animals tell what they do and where they go when it starts to snow.

Sleepy Bears book
#22
Sleepy Bears
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Kerry Argent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Winter is here, and in winter, bears sleep. But how do you convince six not-so-sleepy bear cubs to go to bed? Mother Bear, of course, has found a way—with a cozy rhyme for each of them. Once again, beloved author Mem Fox enchants little ones—and their parents—with a tender bedtime story, irresistibly illustrated by Kerry Argent.

The Bear's Winter House book
#23
The Bear's Winter House
Written by Quentin Blake and illustrated by John Yeoman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

The bear is behaving very strangely indeed: collecting moss, logs, and branches to build a winter house. The other animals think this is silly, and laugh at him, but when winter comes, bear is cozy in his house while the other animals suffer in the cold. Being a very kind bear, he invites the others in; but unfortunately for the bear, they are too excited to sleep—it seems he will get no rest at all this winter. But when spring arrives, he finds a solution.

KNOCK KNOCK book
#24
KNOCK KNOCK
Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Guy Francis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Knock Knock is a fresh and innovative method of humorous storytelling that uses knock-knock jokes to tell the story of Bear and his woodland friends Raccoon, Rabbit, Turtle, and others. With each new visitor, Bear grows increasingly frustrated at his lack of peace and quiet. Little does Bear know that his friends have a surprise in store for him -- a happy hibernation party!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.