Thursday, February 7, 2013

7 books to read when you wish it was snowing



We are a household of snow lovers.

We have been waiting all winter for some decent snow. There was some over Christmas, but we missed it while we were away visiting family.

Finally, we got enough snow to put on our snowsuits and head outside to play.

Here are some pictures- smiles all around, even from the baby girls who hadn't ever been in the snow before!






 
Instead of real snow, we've mostly had flurries, dustings and clouds that look like snow but don't really make any. We've had rain. We've had fog. We even had thunderstorms one day.

"Rain, rain, go to bed...why can't you be snow instead?" 

                    --SuperSam


Ah, well.

In addition to being a household of snow lovers, we are a household of book lovers. We keep a basket of books together near our favorite reading spot in the living room. Really, we have baskets of books in every room of our home (and generally books are loose from their baskets and lining the hallways and doorways in a kind of breadcrumb trail where children have pulled them out and traveled with them), but these books in this basket rotate with the seasons or with topics of interest. Right now, the basket is full of books about snow. We have been reading them over and over and living vicariously through them while we wait for snow of our own.

In hopes that we might create some strong "snow buzz" among you readers and increase our chances of getting some more of our favorite precipitation, I'd like to share some of our favorite snow books with you. (These book images are Amazon affiliate links.) I'd also like to ask that you join us in the snow dance by wearing your pajamas inside out and dancing around with your pillow on your head (unless you have an aversion to snow and are hoping against our hopes, in which case you are both a spoilsport and exempt).


Snow by Uri Shulevitz is my very favorite snow book ever. (That's saying a lot.) It is about the simple joy of snow and how it overcomes the naysayers. "Snowflakes don't listen to radio. Snowflakes don't watch television. All snowflakes know is snow, snow, snow." I love everything about it...the simple text is so memorable that we quote it all the time when the topic of snow comes up (which is often, this time of year). "'Snow,' said the boy." Sigh. It's just perfect.



Mooncake by Frank Asch is the book that started SuperSam on his interest in all things space. The bear in the story wants to know what the moon tastes like and builds a rocket so he can travel there to find out. (There is definitely snow involved...you'll have to read the story to see what happens!). SuperSam traditionally makes a mooncake from the snow each time there is enough on the ground to scrape it into a cup. And yes, he eats it. And no, I don't stop him, even if the snow doesn't pass my own personal standards of edibility. A little dirt will probably strengthen his immune system, right?



Mooncake, 2010
Mooncake, 2013

Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan is currently Lucy's favorite book. I love it, too. The illustrations are the coziest kind of cute, and the text is simple and straightforward. Although this book is wishful thinking for us so far this winter, I can remember snow days from childhood that felt as free and light as the one in the story...the day feels spacious and long, but the story is over before you know it (and the day with it). A great before-bed read for everyone.


The Mitten by Jan Brett is a retelling of a folk tale involving a lost mitten that gets bigger and bigger as more and more woodland creatures crawl inside. If you aren't familiar with Jan Brett's art, it's amazing - she adds great story details in the sidebars of each picture that older children will love to notice and point out. The story is funny and simple, but the pictures are what really make this book a classic. It lends itself well to retelling with finger puppets or paper animals and a large mitten (paper or knitted)...a fun thing to try with your little ones after you've read the book together.


The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett (an author/illustrator who is definitely worthy of being on this list twice) is a retelling of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This version of the story is happy and totally toddler-appropriate (although we tend to summarize for our littlest family members instead of reading all the words to them). In Jan Brett's beautiful pictures, the story seems to have been about an Inuit girl, her sled dogs and this family of three personable snow bears (with such expressive faces!) all along. It's a family favorite. (Special thanks to Megan for introducing us to it.)


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is one of those books that never gets old, no matter how many times we read it. This is a good thing, because everyone likes it and demands to have it read over and over. Ezra Jack Keats' bright, eye-catching art draws readers into the story (and as a mama, I can't help but love how cute little Peter looks in his bright orange snowsuit!). SuperSam really relates to Peter at this point in his life, and he always wants to discuss Peter's disappointment when things don't turn out exactly as he hopes with his snowball. This book has inspired us to create art both indoors and out with its bright colors, textures and patterns. It also served as a nice jumping off point for a lively discussion about freezing and melting.


Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London is one of those books that is more fun for me if I read it with funny voices. It's a bit repetitive, like all the Froggy books, and it can get tiring if I am asked to read it many times in a row. SuperSam loves it, though, as do most preschool-aged boys and girls I know. The repetition of the dialogue between Froggy and his mother and the taking off and putting on of the same clothes repeatedly are just perfect for them. The reference to underwear is like icing on the cake. If I start to feel bored with it or am reluctant to read it again, I just look at SuperSam's delighted face and remember that reading together isn't about me (and that I love reading all the other books on this list so much that I don't ever have to pretend to be happy when my children ask for them!). It's worth it.

There you have it...our wishful-thinking list of snow books. I'd love to know your favorites...what winter weather books should we add to our collection?