Monday, January 9, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? A Snow Day Picture Book Roundup

It's Monday! What are you reading? is the original weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, but is now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date It's Monday! What are you reading? - from Picture Books to YA is a kidlit focused meme just like the original and is hosted weekly by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers .  The purpose is the same: to recap what you have read and/or reviewed and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. Twitter for #IMWAYR

What to do on a snow day?  Read snow books, of course.
Snowballs written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR, 1995, 40 pages, age 4+
A family has been waiting for snow for a while now, collecting all kinds of odds and ends for when the big snowfall arrives. And finally - snow, enough snow for all kinds of snowballs. First up is a snow dad, then a snow mom, a cool snow boy, a snow girl, a round snow baby, and finally, a snow cat and a spotted snow dog. But these are ordinary snow people and pets - they are decorated with all those colorful, carefully collected odds and ends. Dad wears a Bolivian hat, mom sports a Guatemalan purse, and there's a felt heart, toy wheel ears, button spots of the dog. In fact, there is a two page spread to show young readers just what and how everything was used. But, uh-oh, the sun has come out and you know what happens to snow people and pets when it warms up - the same fate as Frosty. 
But what is snow, and what makes it snow, anyway? Turn the page and find out. And don't forget the recipe for some really yummy looking popcorn balls on the jacket flap decorated to look like - what else? A snowman. Each collaged snow person and pet gets its own two page spread. They are from cut paper shapes, and decorated. Besides the odds and ends, there are raisins, sunflower seeds, corn kernels, twigs and all kinds of fun thing found in nature. This is a fun book to read, whether it's snowing outside or not, and it's chockablock with great ideas for your next snow person - whether made of paper or snow.

Before Morning written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR, 2016, 48 pages, age 4+
An ordinary cold winter's day, a walk through the park and along the street with mom and the dog, eating dinner as a family with mom and dad, mom reading a bedtime story, then folding the laundry before she leaves for work as an airplane pilot...But maybe, just this once, if it is said just the right way and using just the right words, a wished for snowstorm might just bring mom back home. Written in rhyme, Sidman employed the literary device of invocation for expressing the young girl's wish for snow and her mom's return: "Let the air turn to feathers/the earth turn to sugar/and all that is heavy/be light." What is invocation? Sidman includes a note On Wishes and Invocations. How powerful are words? she asks, and what would you wish for? I loved that it is the mom who is the pilot, and the dad who stays home with their daughter. Beth Krommes watercolor illustrations done on scratchboard in a palette of wintery browns, golds, and blues with touches of other color (like winter itself). Using the scratchboard technique really gives each illustration so much depth and texture. This is a charming story where the art and the rhyme really come together so beautifully in this heartwarming family story.

Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman
Random House BFYR, 1962, 2014, 61 pages, age 4+
Snow is an oldie, but a goodie. It has been a favorite of beginning readers in my house since I began reading, and served my Kiddo well, too. In between, it was passed around from cousin to cousin until the original fell apart and a new one was needed. Written in a simple rhyme, two children and their dog play in the snow - sledding, throwing snowballs, making a snow house and having a snowy picnic in it, and finally building a great big snowman. But when the snow melts, the kids and their dog aren't ready to say good-bye to it. What to do? Why, save some in the refrigerator for another day. (This book inspired me to make a mini snowman who lived in our freezer for a few years, until my mom forgot abut him spring cleaning one year.) If this books rhyme reminds you of Dr. Seuss, it may be because he did have a hand in the editing of Snow. 

First Snow written and illustrated by Bomi Park
Chronicle Books, 2016, 40 pages, age 2+
While the world is sleeping, it begins to snow. A small girl hears it, sees it and puts on her snowsuit, hat and red scarf. In the yard, she makes a snowball and starts to roll it, followed behind by a small white puppy. The girl rolls and rolls her snowball, which grows and grows, going past some houses, and into the county, then, alongside a speeding train, through the woods and all the animals living there, finally arriving at a field full of other children building snowmen. But in the morning, outside the girl's house, stands a long snowman wearing a familiar red scarf. Was this all a dream? a wish? real? Young readers are left to decide for themselves. There is spare, simple text, making it ideal for the beginning reader, and the soft illustrations offer much to talk about. The illustrations were done on textured paper, with a variety of mediums, including acrylic paint and ink pastels, Park has really captured the beauty and gentleness of snow falling at night and the wonder of waking up to see it. This is such a magical story about the first snowfall of the winter. 

The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Chris Turnham
Chronicle Books, 2016, 40 pages, 3+
Even though his older brother and sister told Charles there was no such thing as a wish tree, he was still determined to find it. With the whole day ahead of him and armed with his trusty sled, Boggan, Charles goes off to the woods to find the wish tree. Along the way, he meets a squirrel who needs help getting his hazelnuts to his home, a beaver who needs help getting wood his lodge, a fox who needs to get berries to her burrow, and a whole bunch of other woodland creatures needing help. Charles and his Boggan help them all and before he knows it, the day is gone, and it begins to snow. When a very tired Charles falls asleep on Boggan, the animals gather to pull them to the wish tree. After hanging his wish on the tree, Charles sits down to a celebration feast with the animals until it is time to go home. Yes, this story is a fantasy, which is good cause we don't want our kids going into the woods alone, or walking on the frozen pond (but these two things offer a good opportunity to discuss with kids why they should NOT imitate Charles). Whimsical digitally created illustrations, repetition, and onomatopoeia makes this a fun book for young readers.

Bunny Slopes written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Chronicle Books, 2016, 60 pages, age 4+
Bunny really wants to go skiing, but needs some help from his young readers in this interactive story. First of all, there is no snow, so Bunny asks his readers to shake the book to make it snow. Then, he needs the book tilted so he can ski downhill. Finally, everything is perfect, that is, Bunny even manages to avoid a hole in the ground, well, the first one, anyway. The second hole catches Bunny by surprise, but there's an even bigger surprise when he lands in his own bunny hole and his mom has a nice cup of hot cocoa waiting for him - all's well that ends well. Kids will enjoy helping Bunny with his ski day, shaking, tilting, and turning the book around and around. The simple digital and charcoal illustrations in a palette of snow white and icy blue with a touch of red add charm to the story, especially give Bunny's sweet face.

What are your favorite snow day books to read while staying warm and cozy?

Why didn't I include the iconic The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats? Check out my first day of winter post that includes more that wonderful book and other fun Snow Day books:


  1. My favorite snow book is the Uri Shulevitz version. Magical.

    I'm still perplexed why everyone "knows" that the child in Before Morning is a girl... I read it fairly quickly and haven't looked back at it, but my interpretation was that the gender was never purposefully named, which I thought was nice.

    1. I will definitely have to find the Uri Shulevitz book about snow. It really does look magical. I forget what made me think the child in Before Morning was a girl (maybe it was the things in her room), but actually I felt the the child, the mother and the father were really a little on the fluid side - they could be any gender. Maybe that's the point and we all missed it.

    2. I was just curious, but I do like the trend of trying not to add a gender to a character when it isn't necessary. (We always have that discussion when reading aloud Owl Moon too, because my students don't know how to talk about the character without a gender pronoun. We usually go with girl there too because the story was inspired by the author's husband and daughter.)

  2. The cover of Before Morning makes me want to run out and purchase a copy. Otherwise, I'm still infatuated with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I'm hoping to read his biography soon. another older title is The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader. For a newer title, I like Blizzard by John Rocco.

  3. Before Morning is such a lovely book. There are actually a few on here I need to read. I have been especially wanting to see a copy of First Snow. Great list! Our favorites the last couple of days have been The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli.

  4. Oh, that Lois Ehlert book looks so special. I have Before Morning, beautifully done. And I thought Bunny Slopes was a lot of fun. I will look for the others! And, I shared a couple of snow books today, too: Big Snow and Bramble & Maggie, Snow Day! Thanks Alex!

  5. I would enjoy any/all of these, but First snow is the one I would like for my shelf. Lovely, thank you for sharing these Alex.


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