Snow, Snowflakes and Snowmen
10, 9, 8 Polar Animals!: A Counting Backward Book
Rebecca Fjelland Davis
&nsp;Tundra wolves racing through the snow, huge furry musk ox lined up so it's a bit of a challenge to count them, arctic terns flying all over the page, puffins, wolves, caribou--this book is a marvelous lesson in polar animals even as it teaches young readers to count backwards. There is an opportunity to learn new but simple words in context, as penguins romp, stomp, and swim in the icy water. There's even a chance to teach the concept of camouflage as children count eight arctic hares that look like little lumps of snow. Brilliant and interesting photographs and short, informative text are the highlights of this work in the "A + Counting" series, which also features titles on counting, counting by twos, more, or less. There is a very short index (which even includes the numbers themselves), a page of interesting facts about the animals, a glossary with words like arctic, antler and waddle; and a list of additional books and reference to the www.facthound.com Web site, with links to age-appropriate sites for each book. This is an outstanding series of concept books for new and pre-readers; the photographs make the book interesting enough to use with older children who are English language learners. 2006, Pebble Books/Capstone Press, $23.93. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Karen Leggett (Children's Literature).
The Abominable Snow Teacher
Miss Irma Birmbaum is, without a doubt, the toughest teacher in town. That does not bother her students today because it is a snow day! School is cancelled! Children are playing in the snow, sliding down hills, and having snowball fights. No one is thinking about schoolwork ... except Miss Birmbaum. So dismayed is she that her students might be missing out on a day of learning that she skis to school in order to get textbooks and worksheets for them. On the way, she is struck by a mysterious light. Suddenly, Miss Birmbaum begins to feel funny, her stockings begin to itch, and she is transformed! She has grown hair all over her face and hands; and she is more determined to quiz her students then ever! What will the children do? Can anyone--or anything--save them from their terrible, scary teacher? Readers who enjoy this delightful book are sure to like Lisa Passen's other "Miss Birmbaum" books: The Attack of the 50-Foot Teacher and The Incredible Shrinking Teacher. 2004, Henry Holt, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Heidi Hauser Green (Children's Literature).
Alison Hart Anna, a twelve-year-old girl living on the prairies of Nebraska in 1888, may not excel in her schoolwork, but she shows her survival skills when an unexpected blizzard hits. In fact, she would much rather be herding sheep and helping out around the farm than doing mathematics and reading poetry. Anna leaves unwillingly for school on a mild winter day. While she does her lessons, the snow begins to fall, and Anna hopes for enough snow to cancel school. What she does not wish for is a blizzard that puts her life and the lives of all the children in jeopardy. Anna shows extreme bravery on several occasions, such as saving her teacher from a rattlesnake that is keeping warm in the schoolhouse and heading out into the blinding blizzard for firewood. Although Anna does not consider herself the best student, she has something that many people lack: bravery. This work of historical fiction offers personable characters and a suspenseful plot while accurately portraying life on the prairie in the 1880s. The back matter in the novel even includes historical events and pictures of prairie life during the time period in which the novel takes place. Alison Hart writes many juvenile books about girls and horses, and this novel is one of many about Anna's adventures. 2005, Peachtree Publishers, $12.95. Ages 7 to 12. Reviewer: Taylor Brown (Children's Literature).
Anna's Blizzard is an inspiring story about a young girl braving the elements to survive the Schoolchildren's Blizzard of 1888. Anna is a pioneer girl through and through. She loves helping on her family's farm, being outdoors, and riding her pony, Top Hat. So when she has to go to school, she dreads it. Her lessons are difficult and the other children her age are unkind. But one particularly long day at school, Anna becomes a hero when a spring blizzard strikes. She finds an inner strength within herself as she defends her classmates from a snake seeking shelter from the storm, cares for a small classmate who gets chilled, and helps entertain and calm her friends and East Coast teacher, who has never seen a fierce blizzard. As the storm rages outside, Anna leads her friends in games as they huddle around the stove. But when the wind rips the roof off the schoolhouse, the battle for survival begins. Anna knows they must get to safety. She gathers everyone together, ties them with rope, and trusts Top Hat to lead them all to a nearby fence line, which leads to a farm. Blinded by the snow and wind, trusting her horse, and barely able to see her friends, Anna leads the way on a blinding trek toward the farm. But will they make it in time or freeze on the prairie? Anna's Blizzard is a wonderful story about a young girl's courage in facing the worst blizzard to ever hit the middle United States. Anna's survival skills are excellent, and the author seems to hint that there is more than one way to be "properly" educated for life on a Nebraska prairie. A well-researched story, the book includes a reference section that gives facts about the terrible storm and life on the Nebraska prairie during the 1880s. Anna's Blizzard is a story both young and old are sure to enjoy. 2005, Peachtree Publishing, $12.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Caitlyn Payne (Children's Literature).
Teachers' Choices, 2006; International Reading Association; United States
The forbidding landscape of Antarctica remains one so isolated and remote that very few human beings ever see it. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries brave-hearted men set forth to locate the South Pole. Explorers dragged heavy sledges behind them through the snow and ice of that frigid landscape. In some cases men died while other expeditions met with failure. Currie does a solid job of chronicling the efforts of explorers such as Shackleton, Peary, and Amundson. The fascinating tidbits of information in the book's sidebars are among the more interesting elements of this book. In addition, period photographs bring to light the rugged nature of both the men and their rigorous quests. Taken as a whole Antarctica is a soundly researched and well-written book that covers a subject of great interest. 2004, Lucent Books, $28.90. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck (Children's Literature).
Illustrated by Frederic Malenfer
Photography by Francis Lagtreille
The Arctic remains a frigid region filled with blizzards, ice sculptures, exotic wildlife, and the staunch Inuit people. The Artic is also a part of the world suddenly threatened with seemingly imminent change as a result of the pernicious effects of global warming. Finally, the Arctic is also a landscape of nearly indescribable beauty as the forces of nature combine to craft a world of snow and ice that beggars description. In The Arctic author Catherine Guigon describes some of the basic elements of this distant region. In combination with striking color photographs and touching illustrations, this story is one that will appeal to readers young and old. While Guigon's text provides valuable insights into the world of the Arctic, the visual imagery that accompanies her words is stunning. This is a beautiful book that not only tells the story of a little know land but also those of the people and wildlife that inhabit it. 2007, Abrams Books for Younger Readers, Ages 10 to 14, $18.95. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck (Children's Literature).
Describing a deadly February 2005 avalanche covering Valtengu, Kashmir, Hamilton emphasizes how quickly avalanches can cause disastrous results. Readers learn that one million avalanches occur annually and that avalanches can move as swiftly as eighty miles per hour. Most avalanches happen near the European Alps, but mountainous regions worldwide are vulnerable to those snow disasters. Approximately 150 people die yearly due to avalanches, although some avalanches can bury small villages, escalating casualties. The season influences when avalanches are likely to occur due to snow accumulating or melting, and other causes, including terrain, wind, and human movement. Avalanche types, including loose snow or sluff-avalanches, slab avalanches, cornice fall avalanches, and icefall avalanches are briefly explained. Hamilton defines elements of an avalanche, including the starting zone, avalanche track, and run out zone. He provides warning signs preceding avalanches and offers safety tips, describing technology to help people survive avalanches and alert rescuers to their location. The text highlights techniques people use, including search dogs, to find and swiftly dig out avalanche victims. Methods to prevent or control avalanches are depicted. Includes some redundancies and conflicting information regarding human movement near slopes' windward sides. A glossary and color photographs enhance examples featured in the text. Pair with Gloria Skurzynski's and Alane Ferguson's novel Buried Alive (2003) to discuss avalanche dangers and survival strategies. This is part of the "Nature's Fury" series. 2006, ABDO & Daughters, $24.21. Ages 8 to 13. Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer (Children's Literature).
Baby Snow Friends
This sturdy book has a series of pull tabs that fan down to provide action like an old-time movie. The featured animals all live in very cold climates and the first one that readers meet is a waddling, gliding, and eventually swimming baby emperor penguin. The fuzzy harp seal lets kids know that he is clumsy on land but once he hits the water watch out for this swimmer. The polar bear is also a swimmer, but these pictures show him cuddled up with his mother in their snowy den which is where kids will also find the little snow fox. Baby or not this whale is mighty big and the pictures show the flukes of one really gigantic whale. Toddlers will have plenty of fun pulling the tabs and learning the facts about animals who live in snowy climes in this attractive and informative book. Little Simon/Simon & Schuster, Ages 2 to 4, $12.95. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
The Big Snow
Berta Hader and Elmer Hader
As the geese fly south, other animals start their own preparations for the winter ahead. Rabbits eat plenty of good food so their coats will grow thick and keep them warm. The chipmunk stores food and groundhogs prepare to hibernate or sleep away much of the winter. Readers will also learn that other animals enjoy the winter weather and still find plenty of food. Cardinals, ring necked-pheasants, owls and crows are among the birds that stay around. Deer and other mammals find food in the forest; however when a really big snowstorm comes, the animals have difficulty finding food. An old woman scatters seeds, nuts and breadcrumbs for the hungry animals, and the creatures all make a mad dash for the food. The closing page relates how the groundhog came out, saw his shadow and retreated for another six weeks of sleep. And even though it was a long winter, the animals were fed by the little old woman and her husband. As indicative of the time the book was published, only a few of the illustrations are in full color while others are black and white drawings. It does not take away from the charm and young readers of this generation should enjoy this story that won the Caldecott Medal. This title is part of the new "Stories to Go" series--inexpensive, lightweight books of classic stories perfect to slip into a travel pack. 2005 (orig 1948), Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, $4.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
Biscuit's Snowy Day
Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Pictures by Pat Schories
Watercolors by Mary O'Keefe Young
The day is bright with snow and Biscuit is going outside with his mistress to play. They are joined by the neighboring kids and together make a giant snowman. Biscuit, as always, is helpful, bringing the scarf to wrap around the snowman's neck. After that activity the kids make snow angels and Biscuit decides to make a snow puppy. The outing ends with a return home to some warm cocoa and treats in front of a nice warm fire. Perhaps not a typical outing for most kids on a snow day, but one that can be enjoyed anyway. Part of the "Biscuit" series. 2005, HarperFestival/HarperCollins, $4.99. Ages 2 to 4. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
Betty Ren Wright
Illustrated by Ronald Himler
Billy is heartbroken when he learns that an impending storm will prevent his cousins from coming to his birthday party. A "thick curtain of snow" falls during the day, and Billy's dad comes to the one-room school to suggest that the kids and teacher come to his farm for the night. Clutching hands in a follow-the-leader fashion the children trudge through the blinding snow following their teacher and Billy's dad. At Billy's there is hot chocolate and a hearty dinner. After a rousing sing-along, Billy is overjoyed to share his birthday cake with his unexpected guests. Snuggled in bed that night with three other classmates, Billy reveals to his father "that December is a fine time for a birthday." Brimming with nostalgia, the heartwarming story harkens back to a simpler time and old-fashioned neighborliness. Himler's watercolors and gouache over pencil are impressive. He flawlessly shifts his palette between the blues and grays of the raging storm and the warm brown and yellow tones of the cozy interior. The warmth of this story will take the chill off a winter day. 2003, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Booklist Book Review Stars, Jul. 1, 2003; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2004; H.W. Wilson
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, October 2003; Cahners; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Show Me Award, 2005-2006; Nominee; Grades 1-3; Missouri
Washington Children's Picture Book Award, 2006; Nominee; K-3; Washington
When we get any type of bad snow storm folks in our area tend to call it a blizzard. Benjamin sets readers straight by defining what constitutes a blizzard--strong winds and snow that limits visibility, both conditions lasting for at least three hours. The text and diagrams explain the causes of a blizzard and areas such as the Great Plains where they are most likely to occur. Blizzards pose a threat to people and animals, but some animals have developed ways of protecting themselves by either huddling together, burying themselves in the snow or seeking some other shelter. On the bright side, today's meteorologists have better tools and information available to help them predict when bad weather may be approaching. There are brief entries describing the great blizzards of 1888, 1949, and 1996. Clear, informative writing tells the story; all of which is illustrated with excellent full-color photographs some of which have captions that pose questions as well as providing additional information. Bolded words found in the text are defined in the glossary and there is an index and references to pertinent web sites. Part of the excellent "Newbridge Discovery Links" series. 2003, Newbridge, $7.95. Ages 7 to 9. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
City of Snow: The Great Blizzard of 1888
Linda Oatman High
Illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci
Free verse tells the story of the entirely unexpected and devastating snowstorm in March of 1888 which immobilized New York City (and much of the East Coast though the book doesn't say). In spite of the weather, a young girl from a well-to-do family insists on viewing the famous Barnum circus and performs her chores religiously in order to sway her parents. As the family makes its way through the storm, they see "crushed storefronts/and sparrows frozen in snow,/blown and tangled telegraph wires." But the show does go on, even if it plays to a near-empty house. Later, text and pictures show this wealthy family going on cheerfully despite the hardships the storm must have wreaked on others less fortunate, making this version less frightening to children but also less balanced. Parts of this are informative, such as the pictures of carts carrying snow out of the city to be dumped into the river. But the pretty watercolor illustrations with pastel and ink highlights evoke little emotion or the drama of the event, and the characters stare blankly at the action. The hybrid text is mostly free verse, but occasional end rhymes suggest rhythmic poetry while skirting it at the same time: "It was only a few blocks/to Madison Square,/so I begged Papa for us to walk there." These often forced rhymes create some skewered syntax, such as "...the newspaper did assure." Young readers may be introduced to this event by this book and learn more about the storm in the author's note, but Jim Murphy's book for older children, Blizzard: The Storm that Changed America (Scholastic, 2000) truly fills in the gaps with more dramatic text, judiciously selected contemporary accounts, and primary source photographs. 2004, Walker, $16.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Susan Hepler, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
The Children's Literature Choice List, 2005; Children's Literature; United States
Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck
Illustrated by Sam Williams
An exuberant little duck expecting spring weather is disappointed to find a frozen pond. Her feet stick to the ice as snow falls on her head. The bears tell her she has arrived too early and advise her to go back. Ignoring this kindly advice, the shivering little duck tucks her head under her wing. She shuts out the miserable cold around her, choosing to remember the joys of spring and warmer weather. As she pulls her head out, she is delighted to see a flock of ducks flying toward her. At the same time, she hears evidence of the spring thaw. The large-print text features a rhythmic pattern with repetitions of three words throughout. Williams' watercolor art perfectly captures the emotions of the small duck. Cold winter weather and joyous spring adventures burst from the pages in colorful detail. A great read-aloud for young children and a delightful board book for the toddlers. 2004, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, $6.99. Ages 3 mo. to 3. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
Diamond in the Snow
Illustrated by Vanessa Cabban
Recoding magical moments that occur in nature can lead to sappy text and overly idealized illustrations - this is NOT the case with Cabban's illustrations or Emmett's prose. Readers/listeners will experience the awe and joy of Mole's first experience with snow just as if they had shared it with him. Part of the enjoyment of this charming story is the fact that the reader knows something that more does not - frozen water is just ice, not diamonds. (One must not question how Mole knows what a diamond is but does not recognize ice - well, he does live underground.) Mole revels in the properties of snow as it blankets the world creating a magical hush, slippery surfaces, and beautiful vistas. When Mole discovers an icicle he proclaims, "It looks like a diamond. I must take it home." Of course, he struggles valiantly to get his treasure up a huge hill, only to realize that it has been "changing" all the while. "Changing" so much that it ultimately disappears! At this point, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Hedgehog come along, cavorting in the newly fallen snow. Upon recognizing Mole's state of distress, they listen patiently as Mole tells them the story of his disappearing gem. They, gently, explain the science of icicles. Mole stops for one last look at the icicle covered trees and shouts, "Wait a minute!" The last rays of the setting sun have turned each tree into a sparkling blaze of diamond-like glory. "It was the most spectacular thing any of them had ever seen." The four furry friends stand transfixed at the enchanted sight. Descriptive adjectives abound in the uncompromising prose: marvelous, wonderful, fantastic, etc. The rich language reinforces Mole's proclamation: "I told you they (icicles) were MAGIC!" Glowing with light, the illustrations give a real sense of wonder in observing nature. Sharing this lovely story should prompt parents, teachers, and care givers to get their youngsters out into the world to use their own eyes to find "magic." 2006, Candlewick, Ages 3 up, $15.99. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
Dinos in the Snow!
Illustrated by Laura Rader
These wild and wacky dinos have had previous adventures in Dinos on the Go! This time they are playing, building snow dinos, sledding, skating, and skiing in the snow. Different dinosaurs are named as they experience various winter activities: "Stegosaurus skates superbly./Watch her glide with grace./The crowd lets out a mighty cheer./She's sure to win first place." "T-Rex tries tobogganing./He's faster than the wind./Let's hope he doesn't crash and burn while headed round the bend." "Supersauras snowboards swiftly./Wow, she sure can slide./Look out! She has caused an avalanche right down the mountainside." This one is just great fun to share with little people as it reads aloud well and the illustrations are full of expressions (sometimes joy, sometimes dismay). I cannot wait to see where these dinos go next--camping, the beach, a theme park? 2005, Little Brown, $15.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
Estelle Takes a Bath
Illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma
Snow is piling up outside as a mouse peers through a window before this story begins. Then we are introduced, in rollicking rhymes, to Estelle, happily sipping tea in her warm tub of peppermint bubbles. The cast-off boots indicate that she has earned this, having shoveled the snow on the title page. Next to those boots appears our "snow-dusted mouse," who has squeezed into the house. When the two slightly cartoony characters encounter each other, Estelle leaps from the tub and begins a mad chase after the mouse. The bumping, bouncing, hopping, thumping, squeaking pursuit continues across the double pages. The mouse suddenly ends up in the tub. Soft-hearted Estelle just cannot watch him drown. They end up sharing the bubbles. DePalma uses acrylic paints and mixed media to produce all sorts of objects which she upends as the three characters in this melodrama (a black cat gets into the act as well) cavort hyperactively. Estelle is unconcerned about her nakedness beyond her shower cap; DePalma is quite clever in providing bubbles, towels, smoke, etc. to keep the story G-rated. The visual fun is aided by some key words done in calligraphy in assorted colors, with a final "NO-O-O_O_O!" all in red. Lots of fun, and a great read-aloud. 2006, Henry Holt and Company, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Bobbie Kalman & Kelley MacAulay
For any young snowboarder, this book is packed with good information. As with most of the books in the "Extreme Sports: No Limits" series, the information and graphics provide a tremendous learning tool for snowboarders. Kalman and MacAulay begin by providing the history of the sport. With illustrations and photographs they break down the sport to its operating components: gear, course and rider. No library in ski country should be without this book for their elementary and middle school readers. Proper slope etiquette is a focal point. The book also explains the different snowboarding events such as slalom, freestyle and half-pipe competitions. The end of the book gives readers a look into the lives of some of the best boarders out there today. A must read for any snow sport enthusiast. Photographs and illustrations enhance the great information provided in this book. A glossary and index are also provided. 2004, Crabtree Publishing Company, $6.95. Ages 8 to 16. Reviewer: John D. Orsborn (Children's Literature).
The First Day of Winter
The author/illustrator combines a charming look at winter activities with a multitude of real science facts about the effects of winter on the environment and animals in the wild. Each spread features a rhymed look at what the humans are doing and instructions to search the surrounding illustrations for animal tracks, examples of how animals escape the coldest weather, or which birds stay around for the winter, etc. Children will readily identify with the activities of the children and learn a lot about hibernation, animals foraging for food, tree identification, and other pertinent science facts. The pleasantly varied children's faces show them going about play and chores with equanimity and cooperation as well as enjoyment. This is an excellent title to share one-on-one or with a class as it will spark lots of discussion. It should prompt an awakening of better observations of nature--even in winter when it appears that the world is only "cold and asleep." This would be an excellent addition to any school or home library as it "works" on many levels--detailed art, demonstrates cooperative behavior, displays enjoyment of nature, has a text that complements the illustrations, and utilizes a non-biased approach. Just a generally fine book. 2005, Albert Whitman, $15.95. Ages 3 up. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
The First Day of Winter
Winter has arrived, and a child is building a snowman. Each day, a new item is added to the chilly fellow. First, he gets a red cap with a gold snap. Then, two bright blue mittens. Next, three striped scarves. After ten days of additions, the snowman is complete! He has birdseed pockets, pinecone hair, twig eyelashes, a berry mouth, peanut toes, and more! He is the toast of the field, a magnificent specimen, and the animals flock to him. But Fleming's snowman is not going to wait around and melt like others do; no, she has prepared a bit of a "surprise ending" for this fellow. Children are sure to recognize the familiar rhythm of this book and enjoy reading along. This lovely celebration of winter is sure to send many children out into the snow to build figures bedecked with cozy gear and woodland munchies. 2005, Henry Holt, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green (Children's Literature).
Denise Fleming brings her trademark textured paintings and sense of wonder to The First Day of Winter. The acclaimed author/illustrator whimsically adapts the cumulative pattern of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to the crafting of a snowman. The snowman's "best friend" (a little boy) starts with "a red cap with a gold snap," adds "2 bright blue mittens" and finishes with "8 orange berries" for a mouth, "9 big black buttons" and "10 salty peanuts" for toes. Fleming further enlivens the wintry scene with curious wild creatures--squirrel, doe, field mice and birds--who crowd round to explore the "5 bird seed pockets" or perch on twig arms. Fleming crowns the child's snowy accomplishment with a big surprise. After the boy has waved good-bye, a series of wordless double-page spreads show the animals watching as the snowman lifts his peanut toes and dances across the white stuff to greet a snow buddy in a green top hat. A magical ending to a magical book. 2005, Henry Holt, $15.95. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Kirkus Book Review Stars, September 15, 2005; United States
Illustrated by Sebastien Braun
An endearing little rabbit--resembling a child's beloved stuffed toy--wakes up in his cozy underground den and, followed by his brothers and sisters, ventures forth to explore a first snowfall. The warm reddish-brown color of the bunnies provides a nice contrast to the vast whiteness of the snow-filled landscape, and varied perspectives add interest as we see some rather gigantic-seeming chipmunks up close from a bunny point of view. A bit of tension is introduced as the bunnies frolic happily in the snow, but know to hide when a gray wolf and barn owl threaten. Simple but softly-poetic text paints a dream-like winter scene as the bunnies watch children build a snowman. Plenty of white space emphasizes the snowy winter theme, and the pictures would be easy to see in a group read aloud. The snowman's carrot nose and some friendly reddish birds echo the color of the rabbits and help unify the illustrations. This charming British import will appeal to young children experiencing their own first snowfalls. 2005, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 3 to 5. Reviewer: Quinby Frank (Children's Literature).
Booklist Book Review Stars, Nov. 1, 2005; United States
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, September 2005; Cahners; United States
SLJ Best Books, 2005; Cahners; United States
Emily Arnold McCully
There has been a big snowfall and the little mice children are going to go sledding with Grandma and Grandpa. They all get into red truck and drive to the big hill, stopping to slide on the ice and to build a snowman, of course. Then it is time to climb the hill and to start sledding. It is such a long way down and someone has to go first. At last one brave mouse child sets off down the hill and soon the hill is covered with flying sleds and the air full of screams of "Wheeee!" At the bottom of the hill they realize that someone is missing. Bitty is still at the top, afraid to sled down the steep hill. Will she be able to overcome her fears and have some fun like the other mice children? In this wonderful re-release of her 1985 book the author has added some new words and pictures to create a delightful book which will surely be a firm and much loved favorite with young children who have their own little fears and who are always comforted to know that they are not the only ones who are afraid of steep hills or monsters under the bed. 2004, HarperCollins, $15.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Marya Jansen-Gruber (Children's Literature).
Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully gives us a revised version of her 1985 First Snow. It is produced in a larger format, with the addition of some new pictures. She has also added words to this edition--superfluous, as it turns out, since the simple sentences ("The road is icy." "Who will go first?") are self evident, their meaning already contained within the illustrations. But McCully's little story of the sledding expedition of a large family of mice children and their grandparents still retains its original charm. Her pen-and-ink and watercolor spreads catch the joy of snow-covered, hilly fields being conquered by exuberant little ones. Her winter sunset is chillingly lovely. And her exhausted mice-children falling asleep over their suppers of hot soup will stir up fond memories in adult readers, too. 2004, HarperCollins, $15.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr (Children's Literature).
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005; H. W. Wilson; United States
Footprints in the Snow: Counting By Twos
Illustrated by Todd Ouren.
Counting by twos is fun with this colorful picture book, which invites young readers to join a brown squirrel and red cardinal as they follow a growing number of footprints in the snow to an unknown destination. Each double-page spread contains simplistic, collage-style artwork and a simple question, which asks the reader where the footprints lead. As readers follow the footprints across the countryside, they see all kinds of interesting things and learn how to count by twos--from two to twenty. In addition to counting the footprints, readers can also count corresponding sets of dots (in groups of two) and numerals, which are found inside purple boxes located in the lower section of each left-hand page. As a surprise, each page contains a hidden numeral which matches with whatever multiple of two the page is focusing on. This wonderful counting book also includes a list of fun facts about snow, an internet resource, an answer key for the hidden numerals, and a list of other books in the "Know Your Numbers" series. 2005, Picture Window Books, $22.60. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Debra Briatico (Children's Literature).
Frosty the Snowman
Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins
Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
The words to the holiday song, composed in 1950, are illustrated here with soft winter blues and a style reminiscent of Norman Rockwell. Cowdrey effectively uses varying perspectives and angles that draw the reader's eye to Frosty. The oversized book seems to envelop the reader in this fantasy of a snowman who has come to life. The children join him as he rides on old-fashioned sleds, makes snow angels, and runs "down the streets of town." There is a wonderful two-page spread where a surprised policeman looks at Frosty and hollers, "Stop!" Blue endpapers with white text provide the tune and the two verses of the song. Parents and children just might find themselves singing the words or humming the tune. The cheerful, upbeat innocence of a time past pervades the book. 2003, Grosset & Dunlap, $9.99. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
Pictures by Nadine Bernard Westcott
This story told in rhyme is a bright and bouncy account of a little girl's activities in the snow. The illustrations are a perfect foil for the words that describe her every effort. Kids will laugh gleefully to see her struggling to get dressed and head for the snow-covered world outdoors. A little boy from the neighborhood and her dad join her to build a snowman. Meanwhile the dog busily uncovers a sled. Naturally they all have to try riding down the hill even if it results in a spill. When Mommy arrives to announce she has made cocoa for all, there is another mad scramble into the house. All ends happily with the child looking out the window to enjoy the snowman. When youngsters gather for a "snowy" story time, this book is sure to fit in perfectly. Everyone can readily relate to everything they see and hear. 2004, Melanie Kroupa Books, $16.00. Ages 4 up. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth (Children's Literature).
How's the weather?: Today Is snowy
Martha E.H. Rustad
Part of the "Pebble Plus" series, this book helps very young readers understand the concept of a "snowy." Each book in the series begins with a chapter defining the season or the time that one might experience, for example, "snow." The chapters that follow discuss what one wears on a snowy day and what people can do on a snowy day. A fourth chapter than asks "How's the Weather?" and follows it up with a simple statement: "Today is snowy. What will the weather be like tomorrow?" For children who have access to the entire series, this book will remind them greatly of Today is Cold. The book is written using fairly simple sentences which will make it easier for fledgling readers. Full page pictures match the descriptive sentences throughout the book and will be easy for young readers to respond to and identify with, whether they are reading the book to themselves or having it read to them. A glossary of words at the end of the book provides needed vocabulary, and sections entitled "Read More" and "Internet Sites" offer additional information to help understand "snow." This is a good basic text for young readers. 2006, Capstone Press, $19.93. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
I Drive a Snowplow
Illustrated by Derrick Alderman & Denise Shea
This title in the "Working Wheels" series is a joy to behold for every six-year-old boy and probably a few older boys as well. The invitation to explore begins with the tire tracks that decorate the end pages. We then meet Nicole, who drives the snowplow. She explains that her truck is really a dump truck with a special blade on the front. Nicole tells us her job is to move snow off the streets, as well as put down sand and salt that makes the road safer. Nicole describes how she has to be very careful and drive slowly because her snowplow is so much bigger than other cars on the road. The major text blocks are all short, easily readable sentences. Small text boxes every couple of pages reveal more detailed information at a higher reading level. For instance, Nicole tells us, "Spinners on the back of the truck spray the salt and sand onto the road" while the box text informs us, "The spinners are plastic disks that whirl in a circle. The faster the spinners turn, the more salt and sand they spray on the road." The illustrations, which were rendered digitally, contain interesting shapes and lines that invite the reader to explore the pictures thoroughly. The series consists of titles, including I Drive a Semitruck and I Drive an Ambulance. The book also includes a glossary, page of fun facts, index and suggestion for further reading in the library and on the web. This is a wonderful addition to any library that serves small children. 2004, Picture Window Books, $22.60. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver (Children's Literature).
This informative volume uses vivid, close-up photos and well-written passages to introduce readers to igloos, one of the world's most intriguing traditional Native American structures. The author provides fascinating facts about the native Inuits who built these unique snow dwellings, as well as the materials and construction methods they used to create these one-of-a-kind buildings. This title briefly discusses why igloos were used in the Arctic (central Alaska to northern Canada), how the Inuits gathered materials and prepared the igloo sites, how they built an igloo from bottom to top, what they did inside these buildings, why they created igloo villages and special igloos, and how they stayed warm in these snow structures. This interesting introduction to igloos also contains a glossary, a list of books for further reading, an Internet resource, and an index. This captivating book makes a wonderful reference book for beginning readers and young researchers. This title is part of the "Native American Life" series. 2005, Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press, $21.26. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Debra Briatico (Children's Literature).
It Feels Like Snow
It all starts one day when Alice's toe begins to throb. She knows this is a sign of snow, and so Alice warns her neighbors, Etta and Greta Grillo. Alice goes to buy a snow shovel, but the Grillo sisters do not believe her, and they are unprepared when the snow comes. Several days later, Alice's nose begins to tingle. She knows this, too, is a sign of snow, and she warns her neighbor, Mr. Bean ... and so it goes. Each time Alice gets a physical sign that snow is on the way, she tells someone who does not believe her, and Alice prepares for snow while they don't. When the worst snow comes, Alice and her friends are reunited with warm food in front of a cozy fire at Alice's house and all is well. Young and old readers alike should enjoy this somewhat silly tale of snow and skepticism. Cote's illustrations involve not only the human inhabitants of Alice's world, but also the animal; readers are sure to chuckle at the picture of Alice's cow snuggling under a blanket during the final big snow. 2003, Boyds Mills Press, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green (Children's Literature).
It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems
Pictures by Yossi Abolafia
The days are shorter, your shadow is bigger, and the first flakes of snow have begun to fall. When you go outside your mom makes you put on so many layers you look like the abominable snowman. In sixteen engaging poems, Jack Prelutsky captures the spirit of the child in all of us as he playfully describes some of the delights of the winter season. This marvelous poet has reined in his zaniness to suit the more barren winter landscape, although you catch a whiff of it now and then. The wonderful illustrations by Yossi Abolafia capture the author's firm grasp of seeing things from the child's perspective. A confident young reader could master these poems with a trip or two to the dictionary for a few challenging words. 2006, HarperCollins, $15.99 and $3.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Christina Moore (Children's Literature).
Part of "El Tiempo de Aqui" weather series, this slim volume focuses on snow. Ten very brief chapters describe snow-related topics such as: animals in the snow, dangerous snow, snow sports, and some strange facts about snow. Most chapters consist of two pages with only a few sentences on each page. Every page also features a large, attractive color photo. The conversational text seems straightforward and easy to understand. The book should be useful for a science curriculum in primary bilingual classrooms. An index and glossary are included. 2005, Weekly Reader Early Learning Library, $14.50. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Gisela Jernigan, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
Mouse's First Snow
Illustrated by Buket Erdogan
The softly illustrated snowy scenes of a perfect winter day spent playing with Poppa, and the short, snappy text make this a nice addition to the "Mouse's First" series. The little mouse and his poppa go out to play in the snow. First, Poppa goes sledding. "Woosh, swoosh!" Then Mouse decides he can do that too, and he does. "Pliff, Ploof!" Poppa goes skating and Mouse joins in, gliding across the ice. Then Poppa teaches Mouse how to make snow angels. Mouse watches Poppa make a snow house; Mouse makes one of his own. All through the book Poppa shows Mouse how to do things. Although Mouse does not do everything quite as well as Poppa, he has a wonderful time. Finally Poppa rolls a big snow ball and Mouse rolls a slightly smaller one. With just a little work, the snowballs are made into a surprise for Mouse--a round little snow mouse. This will be fun to read just before taking a little one out to romp in the snow. It is also a fine book to share when curling up on the sofa on a cold winter's day. 2005, Simon & Schuster, $12.95. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford (Children's Literature).
Now It Is Winter
Illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma
This dialog of questions and answers between a mother mouse and her child is a fine poetic companion for the winter nights when spring seems far away. Each question recalls some delight of spring from blackberries and cream and rolling down grassy hills to flying kites and enjoying night breezes. "Will spring ever come...Ever again?" asks the child. The mother replies that all those things will come again. But meanwhile, winter offers its own rewards, from oatmeal for breakfast and sledding downhill to ice-dancing on the frozen pond and making a snowman. Charming anthropomorphic mice are fashionably dressed for the winter outdoor activities, and then in attractive flannel pajamas. DePalma exploits the double pages to describe an indoor underground stage sparsely set, a cross-section of some sanctuary; her acrylic paints combine with huge cut paper snowflakes create an inviting snowy landscape just right for sliding or making snow angels. 2004, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, $16.00. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Though his family welcomes snow, a young mouse yearns for spring. He wants blackberries and cream, dandelions and daisies. His patient mother points out the beauty of his frozen surroundings: the napping snow angels, sleet-sprinkled roof, sled-happy hill. "Hush, child," she finally says. "Spring will come all pink sky and breezes. But now .... you are cozy in your flannel pajamas." Emphasizing the pleasures of each season, Now It Is Winter recalls Ecclesiastes 3:1 ("To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."). Appropriately for a young audience, author Eileen Spinelli grounds her lyrical descriptions in a child's world. And Mary Newell DePalma adds wit and whimsy with her acrylic-and-cut-paper artwork. 2004, Eerdmans, $16.00. Ages 3 up. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
por Dennis Rockhill
In pastel shades of blue, white, and brown, Rockhill captures our imagination with exquisitely detailed drawings of a mittened child patting a baby seal in the Artic. The child builds a polar bear out of snow, and as she looks out the window the polar bear comes to life. She dreams and her own little white teddy bear becomes a snow bear's cub and all three travel on an adventure. They meet a snowy owl, an Arctic wolf, pat a baby seal, have a tumble in the snow and see the aurora borealis. All of this happens without words. Falling asleep while it is still snowing, the child wakes to find the footsteps of the bears leading off into the whiteness. The author/illustrator includes an instruction sheet in Spanish and English to explain the small black and white pictures on each page intended to add questions a teacher might ask to help a child elaborate on the events of the adventure. This is a perfect book for teachers and parents wishing to help build storytelling vocabularies. 2004, Raven Tree Press, $16.95. Ages 4 up. Reviewer: Sue Stefurak (Children's Literature).
Educators will appreciate this well-organized book when teaching students about precipitation. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail are all different forms of precipitation; young readers will learn how each of these forms of precipitation is created. Precipitation is created from millions of tiny droplets or ice crystals that form in a cloud. These droplets and ice crystals are blown by the wind and connect with other droplets and ice crystals. As they get bigger and bigger they become raindrops or snow. Depending on the temperature, precipitation may start out as snow in the sky, but once it falls to a warmer temperature it may change to rain. The photographs show what the different types of precipitation look like. Readers will learn that precipitation is measured using rain gauges that collect rain or snow. They will also learn that forecasters predict what type of precipitation is going to fall using satellite pictures of clouds taken from space and from radar on the ground. 2005, Capstone Press, $21.26. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Debbie Bohn (Children's Literature).
The appealing illustrations in this picture book include vivid color and small details befitting a house for mice. The mouse house is an old boot in constant need of repair. Two pencils make a ladder, a thumbtack holds the window shutter in place, a fingernail file serves as a saw, and a cellophane tape dispenser is used to "seal" the windows against winter's cold. The story's hero is Robert, the youngest mouse in the family, who wants to experience snow. When he accidentally slips out his bedroom window into the snow--and out of sight from his family--he is at first excited to find he is in the middle of snow. But then he realizes that he cannot find his home because of the depth of the snow. Alone and afraid, he is rescued by someone who is dressed in red carrying a sack over his shoulder. The rescuer returns him to the window from which he fell and silently goes on his way. In the spring, a happy surprise awaits the family as they unseal their door and look outside. With hints that the stranger is Santa Claus, this story is an indirect look at the spirit of giving without mention of any holiday or holiday custom. This book wants to do more than be a cute mouse story, but its contextual clues may be limited for the young reader. Understanding the connection between being lost in the snow and the delivery of a new home for one's family is a stretch. 2004, Viking, $15.99. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Jacki Vawter, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
The Santero's Miracle--El milagro del santero
Illustrations by Amy Córdova
Spanish translation by Enrique Lamadrid
When Andrés goes to visit his grandparents in northern New Mexico for his Christmas vacation, he never imagines he will witness a real life miracle. At first the young boy spends his days helping his grandfather finish a wood carving of San Isidro. Andrés's grandfather, don Jacobo, is a santero, one who makes wood carvings of saints. The older man wonders if his grandson will carry on the family tradition of carving saints or if he will go away to college and chose a different career like his father. Just before Christmas and just before the rest of Andrés's family arrives for the holiday, a huge snowstorm blankets the village. Don Jacobo knows the snow plows will not reach them for several days, and he shares his disappointment with Andrés that the rest of their family will not be able to reach them in time for Christmas. The next morning don Jacobo, his wife doña Sofía, and Andrés receive the surprise of their life when they open the door to the house and see the roads all cleared of snow! The only clue about what happened lies with the wet, muddy boots of their wooden San Isisdro. The brightly colored illustrations and borders which surround them remind readers of the Southwest. With both English and Spanish text and a glossary of Spanish words used throughout the story, this book would make a wonderful addition to any reading collection in a public or parochial school. 2004, University of New Mexico Press, $16.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Ramirose Attebury Wendt (Children's Literature).
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Americas Award Commended 2004 United States
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People Special Recognition 2005 United States
The Schoolchildren's Blizzard
Marty Rhodes Figley
Illustrations by Shelly O. Haas
Whether children attend schools that close with the first flurry or get to school no matter how much snow is on the ground, they will enjoy and appreciate the story of the blizzard that caved in the roof of the school. There really was just such a blizzard in central Nebraska in 1888. The school was a small building made of sod. The wind was simply too strong for the tiny structure on that January day, so when the blizzard came inside, the young teacher tied all the children to a rope and they walked half a harrowing mile to her home. The author's note carefully explains what was true (the blizzard and the teacher) and what the author imagined (Sarah and Annie, the main children in the story).This is an excellent story that introduces the newest readers to historical fiction while giving them a bit of danger and suspense in the lives of realistic, congenial characters with whom they can identify. The softly colored illustrations capture well the emotions, the schoolhouse atmosphere and that vast Nebraska prairie under sun and snow. 2004, Carolrhoda Books, $21.27. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Karen Leggett (Children's Literature).
March may harbor spring but it still might hold a snowflake or two. Local author Marty Rhodes Figley tells of a devastating day in 1888 when a sudden snowstorm caused a prairie schoolhouse to collapse. The 19-year-old teacher, quick-thinking Minnie Freeman, tied a rope to the children and lead them through the blinding snow to the safety of her own little sod house half a mile away. The Schoolchildren's Blizzard adds an important true story to the national annals of brave children and teens. The early-reader format and lovely watercolors by Shelly Haas help make the tale accessible to beginning readers and show how important it is to keep a cool head in emergencies. Part of the "On My Own" History Series. 2004, Lerner, $5.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Children's Choices, 2005; International Reading Association; United States
Severe Storm & Blizzard Alert!
Illustrations by Jon Van Zyle
At this very moment, over 2,000 storms are happening around the world. Hundreds of lightning bolts are striking the earth and in colder climates, swift, bitter winds are bringing snow. With many full color photos, maps and illustrations, this book begins at the beginning, explaining what makes weather, how storms form, what causes lightning, and how to recognize different types of clouds. Included is information on how blizzards are forecast by meteorologists and a brief history of famous storms around the world. The photos and illustrations are especially well done and include some fascinating photos of polar storms, hail stones and tornadoes. The latter sections of this book take a look at how storms and blizzards affect people, including how to stay safe in a storm, and a brief look at the work of rescue dogs. For kids who want to get in on the action, there is a "Recipe for Disaster," with directions for making lightning. The book ends with a brief glossary and index. From ancient myths about angry gods to modern Doppler radar, this is a thorough and captivating introduction to the science of storms and blizzards. This book is part of the "Disaster Alert" series by Crabtree Publishing Company. 2004, Crabtree Publishing Company, $8.95. Ages 6 to 12. Reviewer: Rebecca Watson (Children's Literature).
Sled Dogs Run
Illustrations by Jon Van Zyle
A young girl shares with us the joy and excitement of running with sled dogs. Preparation begins with the birth of Snookum, Hawk, and Bamboo, and their training for the harness from puppyhood through summer and fall. When winter arrives, they are ready to pull together. Our narrator and the dogs are eager to go. They race the shadows, the wind. We can almost hear the "shusshh" of the runners in the snow as we race with them. Suddenly, after an encounter with a moose, they are lost in a snow storm. But as it clears, the dogs know their way home in the moonlight. Van Zyle puts his acrylic paints to good use in producing sympathetic portraits of the family members and highly energetic depictions of the trio of youthful huskies. We can feel their strong pulling and hear their open-mouthed panting. Double-page scenes provide the dramatic setting of snowy landscape and purple shadows, but the visual focus is on the dogs in action. End-papers provide colored drawings of the parts of a dog sled, while a final author's note tells more about the background of the huskies and their lives. 2005, Walker & Company, $16.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Snow is frozen rain, don't you know? Just over a dozen words comprise the glossary to this straightforward treatment of frozen matter. Snow accumulates, snow drifts, snow freezes, and snow melts. If you read between the lines, such things are bits of excitement to a young child. This book may not generate much excitement. But each term is given its due in language that is concise, not lyrical. Young readers may hear the terms, North Pole and South Pole, for the first time in this text. Some explanation of where and what these terms represent would be helpful. While opportunities abound to make this nonfiction piece bounce with life, it stays all too true to its mission to inform rather than entertain. One bright spot is the quiz at the end of the book, which might also serve as a pre-reading tool for teachers using the text in an early learning science curriculum. Sentences such as "It is fun to ski in the snow" create a flat tone throughout the book. Such books are necessary; they are just not very much fun. 2005, Chrysalis Education, $27.10. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Robin Overby Cox (Children's Literature).
The Snow Baby
Illustrated by Liz Dauber
After locating his missing red boot, the brother joins his sister playing in the falling snow. They make a snow person and build a snow house before they discover "spots" in the snow. Readers will recognize that they are on the trail of tiny footprints - footprints that belong to a little white kitten which they dub "snowbaby." The cartoon illustrations are dated with mom wearing a dress and heels for housework and the three characters (mom, boy and girl) may not seem relevant for today's children; but, with that said, the beginning to read vocabulary necessary to build confidence in early readers is suitable for any reader. Needless to say, the children are shown taking the kitten home to mom's warm kitchen and she smiles, welcoming "Snowbaby" to the family. Back matter includes "Phonemic Awareness Phonics, Vocabulary Fluency, Echo Reading, Text Comprehension," and a listing of the 50 words used in the story. This title is part of the "Beginning to Read" series and includes a "Dear Caregiver" note with tips for pre-reading as well as encouragement for "making reading fun." 2007 (orig. 1969), Norwood House Press, Ages 3 to 7, $18.60. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
Snow Day Dance
You can almost hear teachers across America gathering young students around them on a winter day to read aloud this simple, colorful book that beautifully conveys what it is like to be in school when it starts to snow, and the fun of playing outside when school is cancelled on a "snow day." The text is written from the students' collective point of view, and the story starts in a classroom: "High above our school," it begins, "dark clouds fill the sky. Inside the clouds, snowflakes grow until they're too heavy to float. Then they fall. We make paper snowflakes for the windows. 'Snowflakes have six sides,' says our teacher, 'and every flake is different.'" The teacher encourages everyone to go home and wear pajamas backwards and do a snow dance, the age-old school kids' rite for invoking a snow day. The kids walk home through gathering snow. They watch it fall from inside their homes and then play in it the next day--a snow day, of course. Their world is transformed: "Fence posts wear hats. Snow snakes lie on the rails. Trees are made of lace." The illustrations make lovely contrasts between the super-bright colors young children are attracted to, that adorn their clothes and sleds, and the subtler, natural colors of the winter landscape. Two pages at the end of the book, "About Snow and Snowflakes," offer many details and higher-level vocabulary words useful for teaching students how snow crystals form and how changes in weather conditions affect the remarkable variety of their shapes. 2005, Albert Whitman & Company, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: J. H. Diehl (Children's Literature).
The rhyming repetitive pattern of the legendary "Gingerbread Man" is adapted by Kirk for the tale of a snow dude made by Nick and Kara in their backyard. As they wish that he could run and they could chase him, "there's a little mischief in the chilly air..." and the snow dude is off and running. He is asked to stop by a couple, by the baker, by the lion tamer in the circus, by the zoo animals, and the snow-boarding kids. But each time his reply is the same rhyme, ending "Run as fast as you can run--you won't catch up with me." Unlike the Gingerbread Man, however, he comes to no bad end here, for the "little mischief" in the air enables all the kids to make snow dudes of their own. Kirk's rounded, doll-like actors play their roles in settings of swing sets, tree houses, trucks, lots of snow, and increasing numbers of assorted characters on the chase. The Snow Dude himself is a charming fellow with orange muffler to match his carrot nose, green mittens, jeans, and a broadly smiling round, snow-ball head, setting the stage for fun. 2004, Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
The Snow Ghosts
Describes the daily activities of the snow ghosts who live in the far north. They try to catch snowflakes with their ghostly tongues, and have snowball fights. They try to play with the polar bears and have snowman building contests. One of their favorite things to do is dance in the light of the winter moon. The simple, straightforward text is accompanied by Landry's minimalist illustrations in watercolor, pen and ink. There is a childlike playfulness to these illustrations in winter blue, white and an occasional yellow.. The book is small, and the illustrations even smaller, and that will appeal to many preschoolers. Whimsical and imaginative, even a little quirky with its idea of triangular shaped "snow ghosts." However, if you've ever lived in the far north and seen lots of swirling snow, or even a snow-covered person walking toward you in a blizzard, then perhaps the idea isn't that far-fetched. 2003, Houghton Mifflin, $9.95. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
The Snow Princess
The Snow Princess grows curious about the world and leaves her home in the icy north to explore. Her parents, Father Frost and Mother Spring, warn her not to fall in love with a man because doing so will end in her death. After watching Sergei from a distance the Snow Princess finally meets him and subsequently falls in love. She tries to runaway and forget him, but finds the task impossible and returns to discover her feelings have grown even stronger. Worried about her parents' warning, she calls a snowstorm and is temporarily able to lose herself in its fury. However, when the snowstorm finally subsides she learns that Sergei is missing. She rushes to find him and when she does so, she admits her love and becomes mortal. The tale is inspired by a Russian ballet and follows a traditional fairy-tale story arc. Painted with oils, the artwork is simply stunning--among the most beautiful picture books I have seen. 2004, Little Brown and Company, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Mary Helen Sheriff (Children's Literature).
Want a cozy read-aloud for chilly nights? The Snow Princess is an exquisite choice. In this original fairy tale, based on an opera and set in old Russia, the child of Father Frost and Mother Spring sets off to see the world. Her parents warn that caring for humans will bring her death; but the young woman knows her heart, by nature, is cold. But in befriending and finally rescuing a young shepherd, she discovers her own gift for love. Author/illustrator Ruth Sanderson uses words and images to masterful effect. Initially, pictures are rendered in cool tones: blue, gray, black. As the story continues, the oil paintings begin to glow with greater color and warmth, in keeping with the Snow Princess's blossoming love. 2004, Little Brown, $16.99. Ages 6 up. Reviewer:Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Snow Sounds: An Onomatopoeic Story
David A. Johnson
A steady snow has fallen all through the night. Early in the morning, before the sun rises, a snowplow drives its way through the drifts along the state highway. Then, a little later, a smaller plow cuts through the snowfall along the county road. A boy lies in his bed and listens to his father break out the snow blower and clear the driveway. Roused form his sleep, the little boy bundles up and snow shovels the sidewalk. Finally, the sound of a school bus can be heard as it arrives in time to take the lad off to school. All of these elements are presented in this picture book. Using only onomatopoeic sounds as dialog, David A. Johnson traces this simple event. Combining this sparse text with lovely original watercolor illustrations, Johnson has crafted a touching story drawn from an everyday winter happening. Young children will enjoy the sounds and substance of this touching little book. 2006, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 5 to 7, $16.00. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck (Children's Literature).
Snowbaby Could Not Sleep
Illustrated by Jim Ishikawa
"But Snowbaby could not, would not sleep." Snowbaby has multiple reasons as to why it is impossible for him to go to sleep--counting snowflakes does not help. "Could not, would not" is the refrain heard after each postponement of going to the land of Nod. An extra blanket of snow, a drink of cold water, wind that is too loud, and being lonely are all things that Snowmama and Snowpapa have to deal with before their precious snowball will go to sleep. Even snow songs sung by Snowpapa does not do the trick. Finally Snowmama decides to make a snowdoggie to keep the baby company. Needless to say snowdoggie "could not, would not" go to sleep either, and Snowbaby has to go through all of the things that his parents have endured. Finally, "counting snowflakes" puts them both to sleep. The thankful Snowmama and Snowpapa go off to bed themselves and all is quiet and "everyone could, would, and did drift to sleep." Cute pictures and a story line that will make young listeners giggle--after all, they know all of these tricks by heart--combine to make a perfect bedtime story for a winter's evening. 2005, Little Brown, $14.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
Even snowparents have a hard time helping their young to rest. The repeated refrain "Snowbaby could not, would not sleep" sends wintry parents scurrying to satisfy requests. This baby has the same complaints as most children, but the cold surroundings lead to warm smiles as the situation is placed in a totally different context. The blue hues in the illustrations as well as lots of meaningful details bring the story setting alive. 2004, Little Brown, $14.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Susie Wilde (Children's Literature).
Jean Craighead GeorgeI
llustrated by Wendell Minor
The "Outdoor Adventures" series has included Cliff Hanger and Fire Storm; this new addition brings young readers a snowy encounter with an avalanche. After a heavy snowfall in the Teton Mountains, Dag, a snow patrol officer, checks the Glory Bowl for signs of avalanche danger. When all seems safe, his son Axel and the boy's friend Kelley cannot resist showing off their snowboarding technique, with Grits (described as "the action-loving dog") romping in the powder. A startled bluejay dips its wing in the snow, starting a snowball rolling and falling, which opens a dangerous crack in the snow near Kelley. How Dag and Grits cope with the resulting avalanche provides a brief, but cautionary tale that is not quite as exciting as its opening promises. The author's text offers short sentences and a rather didactic tone, along with a sentimental ending making Grits the hero of the day. Intended for early or perhaps unsophisticated middle readers (the children appear to be nine or ten), the story presents information on avalanches and snow conditions, but is not really very exciting. Minor's pictures are attractive, bright, and realistic, with lots of snow slopes and pine trees, ending with a portrait of the furry, reddish canine hero. Hardly the "gripping tale" described on the flap, this story may appeal most to children already familiar with snowboarding or those who find it well-suited to their level of reading accomplishment. 2004, HarperCollins, $16.89. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft (Children's Literature).
Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers
This book is part of the newly launched "Breyer Stablemates" series (Breyer makes model horses), featuring a different breed of horse in each easy reader story. In this book, Snowflake is dirty and thin when he arrives at Fox Creek Farm. Friends Emily, Anna, and Mandy volunteer to help out after the farm owners initially tell them there is no room for the horse in their stable. The girls name the horse and care for him, and eventually start riding him. Along the way, the text provides information about Percherons, Snowflake's breed. As the weather turns cold, the girls look for a big blanket for Snowflake and instead find a sleigh in the barn. Solving their own problem, the girls propose to use Snowflake to provide sleigh rides at the winter festival, thus raising money for his blanket. Illustrations are large, plentiful, and detailed, and the text is not as long as many chapter books, making this a quick, visual read. It is all about the horses, after all. This warm, fuzzy story will be a holiday favorite for many horse-crazy young readers. 2006, Cartwheel Books/Scholastic, $4.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ginjer L. Clarke (Children's Literature).
Snowflakes and Ice Skates: A Winter Counting Book
Rebecca Fjelland Davis
This is a counting book using one redbird, two snowmen, three pine trees, four snow boots, five skaters, six dogs, seven sleds, eight mittens, nine icicles, and ten hockey sticks. The pictures are large, colorful, and understandable. There is a small amount of text on each page that lends itself to learning and some fun, especially when an adult is helping and/or doing the reading. There is a simple quiz that the beginning counter can do. One page with a picture gives a summary of what winter is all about and what fun it can be for children. The "Facts about Winter" pages refer back to the pictures and text and reinforce learning about winter. "Words To Know" is good for pronunciation and meaning. "Read More" suggests four similar books. There is even a safe Internet site listing, FactHound, that will fetch the best sites for you. The "Index" is simply a listing of key words that have been used and on what page to find them-- great idea! The colorful cover will attract the right age child. This is an A+ book that is designed to be read to a pre-reader or to be read independently by an early reader. There are reading consultants who have helped the author develop this series. 2006, Capstone Press, $23.93. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Naomi Butler (Children's Literature).
Snowflakes For All Seasons
Paper snowflakes are almost as wonderful as the real thing. Why should they only be appreciated during the winter? This very original and creative publication provides templates for snowflake designs that correspond to all of the seasons and holidays of the year. The New Year is toasted with hearts and champagne glasses and a second snowflake with an hourglass design. Hearts welcome Valentine's Day and lilies and baby chicks herald the arrival of spring. A detailed template for each design is included on the page that shows the finished snowflake. This wedge of the design is how the pattern is cut to create the varied marvelous patterns. Perhaps the most impressive is the child on a swing hanging from the branch of a tree. Remember this pattern is repeated six times for each snowflake. Almost everyone knows how to fold paper to make a cut-out snowflake; however, these instructions for that process were hard to follow. Also, unless working with very thin paper, like tissue paper, these intricate designs can be very difficult to cut out. These problems can be overcome and are easily solved with adult supervision and assistance. 2004, Gibbs Smith, $9.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Kristin Harris (Children's Literature).
A Snowgirl Named Just Sue
Mark Kimball Moulton
Illustrations by Karen Hillard Good
A perfect story for the end of winter when it seems that the snow may never go away, this is a celebration of snow, friendship and love rolled up into one, much like the snowballs that were rolled and rolled to become Snowman Bob and his new friend Sue. The bouncy rhyming poetry moves through the major holidays of winter to the beginning of February. After the excitement of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, nothing could be drearier than the expectation of a winter rainstorm. But, when the rain turns into snow, and the snow showers down red and pink Valentines, the fun begins. The children build a companion for Bob (A Snowman Named Just Bob), and the magic of winter "ruled that day." While the poetry tends toward the mundane and cliché, Good's illustrations capture the many moods of the book with soft sepia tones and a variety of borders, making this just the right book to pull out when all are suffering winter doldrums. 2005, Ideals Press, $14.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo (Children's Literature).
Snowmen at Christmas
Illustrated by Mark Buehner
Bounding across generations, the snow people in this delightful book are joyfully celebrating Christmas in the town center while the humans are tucked snuggly into their beds. The appealing illustrations show the "people" coming to life and gathering to decorate a Christmas tree, share games, dancing, singing, and enjoying "all kinds of cold treats." The text reads aloud wonderfully and incorporates all of the magic of awaiting Santa and "the birth of a King." (which is the most religious reference in the book). We see Santa arrive and he "...pulls out their presents,/Each made out of snow." As a clever bonus to the lovely marriage of text and colorful, joyous illustrations, there are "hidden" pictures in each painting. As part of my family (husband, 3 children, 3 in-laws, and granddaughter) gathered for Thanksgiving this book was devoured by everyone trying to locate the T. Rex, Santa face, cat, rabbit, and mouse that appear in each illustration-"did you find the Santa face on the Christmas tree?" There are lots of other fun details as the reader tracks the various snow people through the entire book. There is even a snow dog cavorting right up to the last scene. Having loved Snowmen at Night, I was fully prepared to enjoy this one as well; little did I know how much more I would adore all of the aspects of this merry vision of what else Snowmen do when we are sleeping. The Buehners have teamed up to create a book that will become a family tradition. 2005, Dial/Penguin, Ages 3 up, $16.99. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
DeGezelle's pages are stuffed with full-page photographs of snowplows--both parked and in action. Part of the "Mighty Machines" series, the simple text of this book explains the basics about these giant, powerful machines. It opens by explaining what snowplows do and where they work, then describes the important parts and functions, as well as how snowplows often work together and clear the way for spreader trucks. It ultimately emphasizes how these massive machines make the winter streets safe for travelers. The book introduces early readers to subject-specific vocabulary words that are defined in the glossary. Also included are "Read More," a list of books related to the topic, and an explanation of how readers can find more information on the Internet. With short sentences and large bold type, Snowplows is a natural choice for beginning and reluctant readers. It will surely engage those interested in learning about the world. 2006, Capstone Press, $19.93. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Elizabeth Sulock (Children's Literature).
Straight to the Pole
Wrapped in muffler, hat, coat, and mittens with only his eyes showing, our hero lugs his backpack through the falling snow. "Frozen and alone" he presses on, through the wind, over hills and mountains. "Cold, so cold," he mutters in a speech balloon. "I can't go on...must go on." Falling dramatically in mock heroics, he spies a "wolf," really his own friendly dog, then cries out for help. His friends arrive to "rescue" him, sleds in tow. School has been cancelled, so he can cut the drama and shout "HOORAY!" His epic trek can be abandoned for fun. The words of the large-type text are few; O'Malley's watercolors fill the double pages with snow while depicting the intrepid explorer in melodramatic postures. The adventure begins on the jacket, continues on the front end-papers, half-title and title pages, so that when he stands peering into the emptiness on the first page of text we already are there feeling the cold loneliness. The "pole" he finally reaches is the bus stop. The back end-papers depict the friends on a hill-top, ready for a new adventure. 2003, Walker & Company, $16.85. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
A young boy trudges through knee-deep drifts of snow, pushing, pushing, pushing onward. The storm worsens and he feels he can't go on. But at his darkest moment, two friends appear. Lo and behold, they tell him that school is closed for the day. What initially appears to be boy vs. the elements turns out to be a funny book about a boy on his way to the bus stop using every bit of histrionics in his arsenal. The pole is not the North or South pole but the bus stop pole. Young school children will love this preposterous tale of derring-do. O'Malley's illustrations are bright, clear, and engaging. 2003, Walker, $16.85. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
The Children's Literature Choice List, 2004; Children's Literature; United States
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, November 2003; Cahners; United States
School Library Journal: Best Books, 2003; Cahners; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Blue Hen Book Award, 2005; Nominee; Primary; Delaware
Virginia Young Readers Program, 2005-2006; Nominee; Primary School Level; Virginia
Carol Otis Hurst
Pictures by S. D. Schindler
If you like tall tales and two people trying to out tell each other, then this will be an amusing story. The two grandfathers of the author grew up in Massachusetts and were very different in nature. One was outgoing and loved people, the other preferred his solitude. When they were together, they talked about the Blizzard of 1888 and then the book presents their parallel stories. Each was caught in the storm and each took shelter in a place not quite suited to their personalities. After shoveling paths through the snow they ended up back at home sweet home. The illustrations are terrific and tell the story as well as the text. A perfect book to share with kids when a storm might be raging outside your door. 2007, Greenwillow/HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 8, $16.99. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
Thanks to the Animals
Illustrated by Rebekah Raye.
What would it take for a young child to survive for one day in the winter world of the Maine woods? This title answers this question in a heartwarming tale of Zoo Sap, a lost baby who is warmed and protected by woodland animals until his father returns to find him. Joo Tum prepares to move his family to their winter home by loading them onto a huge sled used to transport all they own. His youngest child, Zoo Sap, is tucked into a place on the sled but falls off into the snow as they travel without his family realizing he is gone. All alone in the snow, Zoo Sap gets cold and begins to cry. Woodland animals, such as the moose and muskrat, hear Zoo Sap's cries and come to curl around him to keep him warm. More animals arrive and surround Zoo Sap, keeping him warm and snug until his father returns in the evening to rescue him. Joo Tum thanks the animals and takes Zoo Sap home. The story is beautiful but abrupt language and lack of description makes it difficult to understand. The author often uses short sentences, such as "Everyone helped" or "Zoo Sap stayed warm," which disrupt the otherwise soothing rhythm and gentle flow of the story. Descriptions such as how the eagle spreads his wings over the pile of animals are excellent, but it does not go into detail about how the animals keep the child warm or how they work together to make sure Zoo Sap survives. It does not mention anything about whether or not the animals feed Zoo Sap or provide him any other comfort. Surprisingly, it takes the full day for Joo Tum to realize his son is missing. This is a pleasant narrative that with slightly more depth and detail would make a wonderful children's tale on a snowy winter night. It is a warm story filled with descriptions and colorful paintings that being the adventures of a lost Passamoquody baby to life. 2005, Tilbury House, $16.95. Ages 3 up. Reviewer: Caitlyn Payne (Children's Literature).
This Place in the Snow
There is a silent peacefulness that comes with freshly fallen snow. It seems as if all sounds are muffled as the gentle blanket of white softly covers all in its path. Of course, the silence does not last long. As a small sleepy town slowly awakens, anticipation begins to build as the children eagerly await the snowplow. The passing of the snowplow seems to officially signal the start of snow time frolic. With a fluid rhythm this book tells of the flurry of fun and excitement that comes as people of all ages play together in the snow. The illustrations in this oversized book are just as engaging as the story. They convey a cozy feeling of warmth and togetherness as everyone digs and burrows through the massive mounds of snow. This colorful picture book will surely delight readers young and old as they fondly remember wet mittens, cold red toes, warm fires, and hot soup, all on a cold winter's day. 2004, Dutton/Penguin, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Denise Daley (Children's Literature).
Booklist Book Review Stars, Dec. 1, 2004; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005; H. W. Wilson; United States
Toby and the Snowflakes
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Losing and gaining best friends is a popular theme in children's literature, and this book adds to that topic the creative voices of talking snowflakes. After Toby's best friend moves away, leaving only his baseball glove that smells like Parmesan cheese behind, Toby morosely haunts his mailbox waiting for a letter until the falling snowflakes begin to speak to him. As he and the snowflakes play together, doing normal snow things like making snow angels and snowmen, the flakes keep up a running banter of friendly talk. As the sun comes out and they begin to melt and take their leave, a new friend with a baseball glove that smells like cheddar cheese arrives for Toby. The story is deceptively simple, but the snowflakes are actually imparting a rather important message about the continuity of life when they say, "We snow, we disappear, we come back again. It is the nature of the snowflake." Cordell's illustrations draw attention to this and other points that the well-adjusted snowflakes make during their time with Toby. This book would make a nice companion in the classroom to A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, $15.00. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Sheryl O'Sullivan (Children's Literature).
Under My Hood I Have a Hat
Illustrations by Fumi Kosaka
This amusing poem is one that speaks directly to the world of the child, and it has been taken from Kuskin's collection The Rose on My Cake and brought to life with Kosaka's whimsical illustrations. The text is printed, a few words per page, in large type. A young girl describes all the layers she is wearing as she takes them off piece by piece. She then takes a break on a wordless double page, sharing a snack with her dog. Then more layers are added, until she is ready to go outside in the snow. But she "must not fall because/ I can't get up at all." Youngsters in cold climates in particular will respond to the outlined figures, softly colored and placed in isolation on solid color backgrounds, displaying the immobility they face in winter attire. The well-wrapped face here is presented with dot eyes and a linear mouth. The end-papers add a brief visual note. 2004 (orig. 1964), Laura Geringer Books/HarperCollins Publishers, $14.99 and $15.89. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Whiteout!: A Book About Blizzards
Illustrated by Denise Shea
Is it safer to stay in the car if caught in a blizzard or to step outside and look for help? Is the size of a snowflake affected by the temperature? Many fascinating facts about blizzards are found in this fun little science book. (Answers, respectively: stay in the car and yes, the closer the temperature is to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the larger the flake.) The illustrations are vibrant and explanatory. The last few pages give safety tips on how to survive such an extreme weather situation as the one discussed, and provide other interesting facts--including the origin of the word blizzard, which is derived from the German word "blitzartig" which is defined as "like lightning"--and a glossary. Additional resources from the library or Internet are also included. Part of the "Amazing Science" series, this would be easily utilized in an early elementary natural science/meteorological unit. Part of the "Amazing Science" series that includes titles, such as Shapes in the Sky: A Book about Clouds, Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind and Nature's Fireworks: A Book About Lightning. Highly recommended. 2005, Picture Window Books, $22.60. Ages 4 to 9. Reviewer: Cindy L. Carolan (Children's Literature).
Snow Features from Other Years:
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