William’s Winter Nap

Written by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Disney-Hyperion, 2017; 978-1484722824

•  A Junior Library Guild Selection

“Beautifully paced, rhymed, and cadenced . . . [The] mixed-media artwork creates a strong sense of the setting and the appealing characters.”—★ Starred review, Booklist

“Ashman’s meticulously crafted rhymes are a delight to read . . . And [Groenink’s] forest creatures are as adorable as it gets.” —★ Starred review, Publishers Weekly

Themes: Winter • Hibernation • Character: Inclusion/Welcoming Others • Counting (up to six) • Bedtime/Sleep • Poetry: Rhyme/Repetition

Click below for a few sample pages.

Illustrations copyright 2017 by Chuck Groenink. Disney-Hyperion, October 2017.

About this Story

In December 2013, editor Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion emailed to say she was “craving a winter hibernation picture book text” and asked if I’d be interested in giving it a try.

Heck, yes. I’d worked with Steph at Simon & Schuster and Dutton, and jumped at the chance to work with her again. Of course, I had to write the story first. And Disney had to acquire it.

So I asked for some clarification. Science-y or whimsical? Classroom or bedtime? Steph said she was looking for “a short, sweet, and playful text for a bedtime story that is perfect for sharing during the colder, darker months.”

I let the idea simmer on the back burner while I wrapped up other projects. I let it simmer some more during the holiday hubbub and a visit from my in-laws. Finally, in mid-January, I sat down with some books about animals in winter and began taking notes. I played around with three very different manuscripts. Then a big (by North Carolina standards) snowstorm arrived and everything shut down, as things tend to do here when it snows—perfect conditions for working on a cozy hibernation book. During the following snow days, as neighborhood kids sledded down the hill in front of our house, the story came together.

Steph acquired the manuscript—as well as a proposal for a Spring follow-up book—and hired Chuck Groenink to illustrate both. I love William and the animal characters Chuck has created, each one so expressive and appealing. And I love the charming house and snowy landscape—just the sort of cozy place I’d like to escape to on a cold winter day.