The thrill of a big snowfall. Snow angels. Snow days! These three picture books celebrate the snowy season.
Some Snow Is . . .
Ellen Yeomans’ Some Snow Is . . . revels in winter, exploring how wildly different each snowfall can be. There’s First Snow (the “we’ve waited for so long snow”) and Spring Snow (“time to go away snow”), with lots of variations in between. There’s Yellow Snow (uh oh, watch out) and Sledding Snow, which takes your breath away and freezes your face. Yeomans also explores the emotional extremes of such weather—from the frustration of light, early-winter Fluff Snow that doesn’t stick, to the complicated relationship with Driveway Snow, which makes Papa growl but also allows the building of a snow fort, which succeeds in making Papa smile.
Illustrator Andrea Offermann takes readers on this journey with three children, best friends eager for outdoor winter play. She juxtaposes vivid colors against the bright white of snowfall. In one striking spread, we see a field of snow angels formed by a group of happy children, the text reading merely, “A flock of angels sing.” On a spread about Snow Day snow, Offermann’s energetic pen-and-ink lines nearly conceal houses in “a world of swirling white.”
Yeomans writes in pleasing, flowing rhymes that form paired stanzas, with the first three lines of each stanza ending with “snow.” It all makes for an engaging read-aloud.
It’s another wondrous, wintry world in April Jones Prince’s Snowy Race. A young girl rides with her father in his snowplow. She has been counting down to this day and now feels abundant pride at the opportunity to help. But the snowplow does more than just clear the roads; it also takes the two of them to meet someone special at the train station, kicking off a thrilling race to reach a family member they love.
Prince effectively uses short rhyming phrases (“whirl of snow”) and simple sentences (“off we go”), making this briskly paced tale a winning storytime choice. Prince writes with bustling verbs—slip, slide, chase, spin, whistling, howling, climbing, growling—as the plow chugs along, the snowy winds accumulate and father and daughter, always smiling, brave the elements.
The page turns on these landscape-oriented spreads are especially compelling as the vehicle plows through the snow toward its destination. At one point, illustrator Christine Davenier even puts readers in the vehicle, seated behind father and daughter as we look through the windshield with them. Reds, greens and blues pop off these snowy-white spreads, as do the lemony yellows of the snowplow’s headlights and the sun trying to peek through winter clouds.
The final spread is a wordless one, showing a family happy to be together—warm, safe and snug inside on a frigid winter’s day. Look closely at the opening and closing endpapers to see the impressive amount of snow that fell during the adventure.
Written by Newbery Honor recipient Gary D. Schmidt and his late wife, Elizabeth Stickney (a pseudonym), Almost Time is a story about anticipating the turning of the seasons. Ethan is eager for winter’s exit, when the warmer weather causes the sap from the trees to run. But for now, there’s no maple syrup on his pancakes, cornbread or oatmeal. He must wait patiently for the days to heat up and the nights to get shorter.
One day, he discovers a loose tooth. Eager to pull it, Ethan now has “two things to wait for.” Even children unfamiliar with the process of collecting and boiling sap—which illustrator G. Brian Karas depicts in three of the book’s final spreads—can relate to this story, because all children know how interminably slow time creeps when they’re excited for something to happen.
Karas depicts the joys of sledding and chopping wood in a cozy, wintry-white world, even if Ethan wears an impatient scowl as he does these things. He’d rather be single-mindedly wriggling his tooth, thanks very much, or trying “not to think about maple syrup.” Once the sap starts to run, his tooth also comes out; it was all worth the wait. Spreads dominated by white snow make way for a closing spread of warm greens, as the snow melts and Ethan finally gets sweet maple syrup on his pancakes.