Given the two feet of snow that fell on my community yesterday, I feel it’s appropriate to focus on some of the snowy day books my son and I have enjoyed lately. Raisin loves snow and especially snowmen, so I searched out some potential favorites even before this week’s storm hit.
In addition to those I mention below, I’ve reviewed a few other wonderful snow books in the past. (Links to my previously shared thoughts.) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perennial favorite, and I keep returning to The Snow Day by Komako Sakai, which I relate to as a mother, since it’s about a child and mother watching the snow fall from inside the house. Last winter, I also discussed Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr; The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader; White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt; and Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Raisin and I haven’t revisited any of those again this year, but maybe we will in the future.
In the Snow
Snow by Uri Shulevitz is a magical snow day book. In the midst of a gray world, a little boy sees a snowflake. He calls out, “Snow!” but the adults in the town disbelieve him, apparently hoping he is wrong. By the end, the snow has covered the town and the boy is dancing with the imaginary but magical colorful cartoon creatures, like Mother Goose, who’ve immerged from the walls of the children’s book shop. I don’t know why I like this is so much fun, but I love the boy’s delight and the grouchy adult’s reactions. My son was the one who discovered that Mother Goose was joining the boy, and he pointed to the illustrations in delight. He also liked to see the snow go from one flake to two to three to many, and so forth.
Snow Day Dance by Will Hubbell is not the most exciting story, but it captures the magic of a realistic snowy world. In the beginning, children watch the snow falling from their classroom in school, all secretly hoping that the snow will cause school to be canceled. Their teacher encourages them, saying that they should “wear their pajamas backwards” and do a special dance in order to get a snow day off of school. When the town is covered in snow the next morning, the children have fun playing the newly decorated world. My son liked to find the snowman the children made, and he loved to see the fun the kids were having in the snow, since he too likes to play in the snow. (Note to self: get snow pants for myself!). I liked the illustrations: realistic and yet colorful paintings.
In the Snow by Hu Voun Lee is not a book I expected my son to enjoy so much, but he did. A mother writes Chinese characters in the snow, teaching her young son what the characters mean. Since Raisin is learning his letters, I think he was fascinated by the concept of a pictorial writing system. We discussed different languages, and he asked me to say the words in Chinese (there is a pronunciation guide on the inside of the cover). In the Snow not only encourages one to play in the snow in a different way (writing in it), but it also is a wonderful introduction to world culture and writing systems, something new to my preschooler.
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London is definitely not a favorite of mine (and I despise the others in the series), but given Raisin’s love of it, it is a perfect book to include on a snowy day book list. Froggy wakes up one winter morning and wants to play in the snow, despite his mother’s reminder that frogs should hibernate during the winter. He goes outside, only to be reminded by his mother that he’s forgotten to put something on. My son loves when the mother calls to Froggy from the house, and he loves the punch line of what he’s forgotten. When I read it aloud, I tend to ignore the author’s “sounds” (each item of clothing makes a sound, like “Zip!” or “Zup!”) as that is the part I dislike about reading this book aloud. However, I suspect children love the sounds of getting dressed. A funny story about a silly froggy.
I also particularly dislike the movie and the Little Golden Book for Frosty the Snowman. (Particularly, I don’t like the little girl hopping on a train car with a snowman bit…) But my son loves the story, the magic of the hat, the “happy birthday!” first words, and the magic of hoping that a Christmas snow will bring Frosty to life. The Golden Book follows the storyline of the movie.
On the other hand, Frosty the Snowman, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey, provides the words to the familiar song with beautiful, large illustrations. Although I don’t like the movie, I do like the song, and Cowdrey captures it perfectly. Although it appears to be out of print(?) there are many new and used copies on Amazon rather inexpensively offered, so I encourage you to get a copy. It’s great!
Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright is a new winter favorite. We’ve all heard of Frosty, but how many know about Sneezy? He just can’t stop his sniffles, so the children try to help him. But every time, he gets too warm, and must call out from the puddle of water, “Make me brand new!” Raisin loved reading this with me, and he’d call out from the puddle on Sneezy’s behalf. I also love the resolution to this: how obvious! Who needs hot chocolate when we can have ice cream! (I could live without chocolate, but not without ice cream.)
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a wordless picture book capturing the creation and life of another best-friend snowman. The unnamed boy spends hours making his snowman perfect, then in the night has hours of adventures. With some prompting, Raisin can tell me the story, and each time it’s a little different, which makes it fun. There is also an early reader version with words, but I much prefer the art and the story without words: let our children discover the story illustrations can provide. (Raisin also has a lift-the-flap book with the same characters, and that introduction may be what makes this wordless book a favorite for him now.)
I have special memories of Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, and the picture book illustrated by Susan Jeffers is a beautiful rendition. I love how reading or reciting this poem is calming. It reads like I really am stopping in abandoned snow-covered woods for a breath. It’s just a wonderful poem, and I love the gentle pencil illustrations Jeffers has given it. There are few words on a page, so there is plenty of beautiful art of admire.
What snowy day books do you read with your kids?
What favorite poems do you find perfect for spring?