Two Picture Books That Will Help You Get over Your Fear of the S-Word

BookendsLynn and Cindy: It was 60 degrees this morning in late November but the s-word is finally in the forecast. Don’t get me wrong, after the last two record-breaking snowy winters, we’re not anxious for the white stuff to start falling. But there is something undeniably magical about the first few snows even here in lake-effect country. Picture books about snow can be just as magical, so here are some new ones to have ready when those flakes start to fall.

Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul O ZelinskyLynn: I am a big fan of Emily Jenkins’ Toys trilogy, which masterfully manages to be heart-meltingly adorable, smart, and funny all at once. I was delighted to discover that Jenkins and illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky have created a wintry picture book with their charming characters, StingRay, Lumphy, and Plastic. In Toys Meet Snow (2015), the trio has been left at home while Little Girl is on vacation and the first snow of the year falls outside their window. Lumpy has questions, such as “Why does it decide to snow?” StingRay has a poetic view, seeing miniature ballerinas in the flakes, while Plastic knows all the facts from books. Just looking isn’t enough, so the toys decide to go out in the snow to play in ways children will instantly recognize.

You may not be able to “go natural” in the snow but
you will be reminded that world can indeed be sweet.

Zelinsky’s luminous illustrations are breathtaking, capturing the soft beauty of a gentle snowfall. The large size of the book provides an impressive canvas for glowing scenes and clever little panels with the toys that provide color and humor. This gorgeous book is a perfect choice for story times and classroom read-alouds, and is a great introduction to the chapter books. You may not be able to “go natural” in the snow like Plastic but you will be reminded that world can indeed be sweet.

First Snow by Peter McCartyCindy: Yes, since Lynn started this post, the weather advisory has gotten more serious and we are now due for 6-8 inches of snow tomorrow. I’ve alerted my college-student daughter that I am kidnapping her snow-loving dog, Scrappy, tomorrow so we can play. This Lab was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula and loves winter best of all. It’s hard to be grumpy about the snow when he is galloping around and then laying in the snow eating it and smiling widely!

For those children who are not so sure about the white stuff—or have never seen it—share Peter McCarty’s First Snow (2015) with them. Pedro is visiting his canine cousins right before a big snowstorm. He has never experienced snow before, and he isn’t eager and excited like the other children. Pedro doesn’t think he will like snow—it’s cold and would rather be warm. He goes outside with his cousins and their friends but he isn’t happy about it. Making snow angels? No, thank you. “I don’t want to lie down in the snow. It is cold.”

Sometimes, though, we are surprised at what we can learn to like if only we give it a try. Snow angels, sledding, and snowball fights help to win over Pedro. The story and the playful, yet gentle, sepia and pastel-tone illustrations will win over readers young and old. If you don’t have snow where you live, or if you choose not to be cold, curl up with these and other wintry reads and experience the snow where it is warm!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

Post a Comment