Snow Daze


If you are looking to find some great winter time reading choices for the kids, Susan has found some fun snow filled books that everyone will enjoy:

Where we live, it doesn’t snow. This means that if we want the kids to see snow (or, rather, eat snow, throw snow at each other, and dump snow down each other’s supposedly waterproof jackets), we need to drive somewhere far away. Through traffic. On icy, dark roads. Uphill both ways.

It’s very different from the snow days I remember as a kid, which were all about my day being easier. Not having to go to school. Having my mom make me hot chocolate. Pestering my mom for something to do around the house. Pestering my mom to take me sledding.

I guess snow days weren’t so easy for my mom, either.

If you live in a warm place, these books can give your kids a taste of what they’re missing. And if you’re someplace a little too cold, maybe they’ll help you appreciate the snow you’re shoveling out of your driveway.

The Biggest Snowball Ever!, by John Rogan. A group of kids have a typical day of fun in the snow – throwing snowballs, building snowmen – until one child’s snowball gets a little out of control. It rolls faster and faster down the hill, getting bigger and bigger, until it starts picking up children as well as snow. When the ball hits a tree, the parents have to come and dig all their children out of the biggest snowball ever. The rhymes are nice, and the image of the rolling snowball with the children’s heads poking out is a child’s snow dream come true.

The Winter Visitors, by Karel Hayes. A human family stays in a house during the summer, then packs up and leaves. After they’ve gone, a family of bears moves in for the winter, sledding, cooking dinner, and throwing a party. When summer comes again, the bears leave the house just in time for the humans to return. The story is told comic-book style, with few words but lots of panels showing everything the bears and humans do. The details are subtle and wonderful – kids can follow the parallels between the two types of families and find the clues the bears leave behind to make the human family wonder “what went on while they were gone.”

Snow Day, by Kamato Sakai. This is a marvelously original take on a child’s snow day. A little bunny wakes up and discovers that it’s snowing – school is cancelled, and so is Daddy’s flight home. It’s snowing too much to go outside, too, so the bunny and Mommy stay home together all day in their city apartment. When the snow stops, however, Mommy agrees to go outside, and they play in the snow together. The colors in the book are muted, with dark browns, blacks, and grays against the white of the snow. But what seems like story of hardship turns into a portrait of a tender mother-child relationship and a quiet mood that sometimes only a blanket of snow can evoke. When the bunny tells Mommy, “We are all alone in the world,” the tone inspires awe instead of fear or sorrow. The last line is a hopeful one: “Daddy will be home tomorrow, because it stopped snowing.” The bunny is never given a gender, which makes it easy for any child to identify with the character. My son wanted this book again and again.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

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