How do you explain the weather to your kids? What do you say when they ask why thunder booms or the what the difference is between sleet and freezing rain? And what the heck is thundersnow?  

I don't know about you, but I'm generally stumped after the "why is the sky blue?" question, and things don't get any easier from there.

But I'm not alone in my ignorance about the weather, and that is precisely why meteorologist and mom of two Janice Dean has written a new series of books that help kids — and their parents — understand the weather.

Dean's "Freddy the Frogcaster" series introduces readers to Freddy, a young frog who has been a frogcaster at Frog News Network since he was a tadpole. He knows all about the weather — including how to be prepared for weather emergencies, such as the giant snow storm he faces in "Freddy the Frogcaster and The Big Blizzard."

If Internet predictions are to be believed, this winter promises to be a doozy, with even more big snow storms than last winter. This book is a great way to introduce the science behind this kind of weather to your kids and alleviate any fears they may be feeling when a storm is imminent.

The story of "Freddy the Frogcaster and The Big Blizzard" is fun, smart, and engaging — but for me, the real meat of the book is the last several pages, where Dean — who has earned the title of "Weather Machine" for her weather show on Fox News Network — shares bite-sized bits of information about various weather definitions (like air mass, water vapor and freezing rain) along with lots of useful and fascinating information about how all of the pieces of the weather puzzle come together to create a blizzard or thunderstorm or frosty morning.  

But will your kids want to read it? If my two are any indication, the answer is a whole-hearted yes. I read it with my 8-year-old, who is studying the weather in school, and she was thrilled to learn about snowflakes and the scientist (Wilson Bentley) who proved that no two are alike. My 11-year-old read it to herself and got a kick out of making sure we have everything listed on the "Winter Storm Checklist" so that we can be prepared for any upcoming weather.

You can check out Dean explaining the impetus for writing the "Freddy the Frogcaster" series in this video:

"Freddy the Frogcaster and The Big Blizzard" is a great way to introduce kids to the science and whimsy of winter weather and a great book to read when you and your kids are hunkered down during that next snowstorm!

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