Despite the fact that, certainly where I live, I don’t think there’s any chance of it settling any time soon, I still couldn’t resist the opportunity to share a few of our favourite snowy reads with you. I’ll have to be quick though, as I’m already being bombarded by the delighted shrieks of two small boys who are desperate to get outside!
The boys appreciate this book for its simple but instantly relatable plot – a small boy who goes out to have fun in the snow – and the colourful pictures that illustrate all the fun that Peter (the little boy around whom the story is based) has during the day. They are both VERY keen to try this…
… and remain undeterred by my gentle protestations that we’re unlikely to have enough snow to make this happen. Unlike me, they are currently less interested in the history of the book. First published in 1962, Keats broke boundaries by featuring a non-white character as part of his, “desire to have minority children of New York as central characters in his stories.” (Source: Wikipedia).
It gives me great pleasure that even though we couldn’t be counted as living in a particularly ethnically diverse area, they’ve never asked about why Peter’s skin colour is not the same as their own. I know that there is still much to be done in order for all members of society to feel equally represented in children’s literature, but as C and H have shown, it’s absolutely not an issue for children (who will pretty much accept anything and anyone, I find) as long as there’s a great story to be told. “The Snowy Day’ is a great story, so pop on your snowboots and head out to the library!
There are few words in this gorgeous books, but they are used impeccably. As snow starts to fall on the city, most people want to ignore it and carry on as normal, but there is someone who is aching for it to settle…
We love this book because C and H enjoy seeing the effects of snow on a more populated place – lots of wintery, snowy books seem to be based in the country – and talking about how it’s equally exciting to see everything covered in that elusive white blanket, no matter where you live. The protagonist’s refusal to let others’ lacklustre reactions to the snow fits exactly with how I think children must often feel about adults and is a reminder that it’s good to let go and embrace the magic every so often 🙂
Obviously, I HAD to include this book! Not only is is a lovely story (based on Yolen’s own experiences) about sharing a special snowy expedition and having a grown-up adventure with someone you love, but unsurprisingly it also features owls. HURRAH! C is fast becoming keen on owls as well (his favourite toy being a fluffy white owl called Owly Owly, who goes everywhere with him and is referred to (by C only, I hasten to add) as his ‘little sister’!). Just like the father and daughter in the book, he likes having a special ‘thing’ that he and I share. Our favourite spread is this one:
For sentimental reasons (and even despite its lack of owls) this book is probably my favourite of the bunch. Featuring a little boy called Henry, who looks after his dog, Charley (the eagle-eyed among you might now understand my softness for this book now…!) on the first ever night he’s brought home to live with him, it’s a beautifully gentle tale. Helen Oxenbury was born to illustrate books like this and her soft, snuggly style is like the big hugs that Henry loves to give Charley.
It is, however, not without its dry humour (we don’t have any pets yet, but I can well remember my sister and I INSISTING to our parents that we would always take care of our pets without them having to lift a finger. Whilst my sister stuck to this promise without a single lapse, I was less diligent…) and it’s just one of those stories that makes you feel utterly warm and fuzzy inside. We were already huge fans of the legendary Helen Oxenbury but we’re newcomers to Amy Hest’s work. After discovering this snow-covered delight, we’ll definitely be seeking out her other work. In fact, we might just sledge off to the library right now!