Whether we love it or hate it, snow is always a word said with an exclamation mark here in the South. This year has been unusual–we had snow on Christmas Day (!!!) and the day after Christmas, and this past Sunday night and overnight into Monday, we accumulated eight inches–8 INCHES!!–in our yard. Needless to say, we have been all about snow this week!
When I saw snow books displayed throughout the easy reading section of the library the last time I went, I picked up quite a few. Unlike this year, sometimes the only snow we get is in the books we read! These are the best of the lot:
I almost didn’t check this one out because of the Santa and sleigh that appears on the front (we’re a little sated on Christmas books right now!), but I’m glad I did! Although Santa does make a cameo appearance in The Snowflake Sisters by J. Patrick Lewis, this book book carries over nicely into the winter. It is written in rhyming couplets, which I admit that sometimes I find distracting, but I think it works in this book. The Snowflake Sisters “weren’t identical”–of course!–and they are appropriately named Crystal and Ivory. We join them on their adventure through the sky and to earth, where they finally end up as part of a snowman. I think the imagery completely makes up for the book being written in rhyme. Here are a few lines I really like:
Sighed her sister, Ivory, “Oh,
Let us snow then, you and I,
While we have wet winds to fly,
While the children come and go–
Tongues inviting us to snow.”
I particularly like that last line. Can’t you just see the children with their tongues out? I also have to mention Lisa Desimini’s illustrations–they are paper collage, a form that I adore. I love that she used all kinds of things to make the buildings–maps, crossword puzzles, newsprint, etc. Illustrations like these always make me want to get out of the scissors and glue and make something. Creativity begets creativity, hmm?
I’m really not sure what to say about The Snow Cat by Dayal Kaur Khalsa. This is one unusual book, but we all liked it. It’s the story of a little girl named Elsie who lives “alone at the edge of the woods in the middle of winter.” She is lonely, so she asks God to send her a cat. She doesn’t just ask for any cat, though–she asks for an “unhungry cat” because she “hasn’t even a morsel to give it to eat.” Well, God obliges by literally dropping a cat out of the sky and into her life. This one is made to order, though–it’s made of snow, so it doesn’t get hungry. However, there are quite a few things a cat made of snow can’t do, besides get hungry–like come inside Elsie’s house. The illustrations in this book are very unusual. They are bold and graphic. Elsie’s face is featureless, although Khalsa (who both wrote and illustrated it) manages to express Elsie’s emotions through body language, etc. I’ll be honest and say that I probably would dismiss this book as just plain old too weird for my taste if it weren’t for the beauty of the storytelling. Here’s but one example:
Have you ever lived alone at the edge of the woods in the middle of winter? When the snow is piled so high the eaves of the roof are a handspan away and you can break off icicles like crystal carrots? When endless, creamy fields of snow pour over the countryside, dolloping the horizon with little hills, already blurry again with new snow falling?
Can’t you picture it? Theology completely aside, this is an entertaining story that is beautifully told. Of all the books she could’ve chosen (and yes, we have a lot), Lulu picked this one to read aloud to her mamaw when she came for a visit yesterday. I’d consider that a recommendation.
I think the concept of Names for Snow by Judi K. Beach is just lovely: a mouse mama and her child discuss different names for snow. This sounds simple enough, but as Mama Mouse’s explanation unfolds, we are struck with many different metaphors for snow. Here are a few of my favorites:
- “We call it Welcome in November.”
- “Call snow Lace when it lines the limbs of the lilacs–“
- “Call it Tradition when it comes on Christmas–and Trickster when it appears April First.”
This is a short and simple book, not really even a story. It’s chock full of figurative language, though, so if that’s something you and your children enjoy, Names for Snow would be a winner. Loretta Krupinski’s illustrations remind me a little of Jan Brett’s, mainly because many of the pages are bordered with all kinds of “bonus” illustrations. Sometimes the addition of all these extra mice was a little distracting to me, but I think it has a lot of kid-appeal.
We have enjoyed many snow books over the years, so I wanted to link up as many of the reviews as I can find here.
- Snow by Uri Shulevitz (Caldecott honor)
- A Cold Snap!: Frost Poems by Audrey B. Baird
- Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Snowflake Bentley by Mary Azarian (plus several other titles, all in one post)
- Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee
- Footprints and Shadows by Anne Wescott Dodd
- The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader (Caldecott winner)
If that isn’t enough, 5 Minutes for Books posted some snowman and snow picture books that I haven’t reviewed! 🙂
The snow is still lingering, even today. Life is returning to normal for many people, although some of the rural schools are still out. Ah, the South when it snows–there’s no place like it! 🙂
Is your family enjoying snow, or are you just enjoying reading about it? Maybe you’re like the snow family above, and you’re ready to think about the beach and warm weather, and that’s reflected in your read-alouds. Whatever the case, link up your Read Aloud Thursday post in the comments, or simply leave a comment and tell us what you’re reading together these days.
Oh, and here’s the code for the Read Aloud Thursday button, should you like to share it on your blog. It has been defunct for a while now (it actually linked back to my old blog), but I think I’ve finally got it up and running again.
It should also be available over there in the sidebar from now on. 🙂
Happy Read Aloud Thursday!