November 21, 2013

The joy of snow

By Layn Marlow
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There’s nothing like a snow day, especially if it’s the first snow day of the season. This magical day is delightfully celebrated in You Make Me Smile. The young narrator begins by saying, ”Of all the days in the seasons of the year, today is a very special day. You might not think so yet, but it really is!” She’s addressing her friend, the snowman that she’s about to build.

At the book’s start, the snow hasn’t started yet, which allows author Layn Marlow to use rich, earthy tones to set the stage with the winter landscape. Her heroine looks up with calm anticipation as she wanders among the birch trees near her home. On another spread, the girl gazes out the window of her house at the gray sky, and soon lights up with excitement as snowflakes begin to fill the air. The book unfolds like a soft, snowy day, as this child and her father happily embrace winter’s gift.

Once the snow begins to accumulate, our narrator pulls on her coat and rushes out, addressing her snowman in the making: “Soon you’ll be standing outside in the bright, white world. You’ll be cold, cold, cold, with a radish-red nose.” We watch step-by-step as the girl builds her new friend, who, of course, makes her smile.

Marlow's quiet tale, first published in England, celebrates anticipation, joy, friendship and the passing of seasons. As the snow melts, this young snow lover muses, "A year may pass, but if you wait, we can share a snowy smile again."

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You Make Me Smile

You Make Me Smile

By Layn Marlow
Holiday House
ISBN 9780823429226

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