It certainly is a winter wonderland here in the Northeast. After a fresh snow this morning, the sun has come out leaving a sparkly white dreamland.
It’s the perfect day to find a sunny window and curl up with a good book. Maybe after all that shoveling and ice scraping, you need a reminder of how beautiful and fun winter weather can be. Here are a few of our favorite picture books highlighting exceptional illustrations that make us love winter all over again. I wrote about a few more favorites last year that you can read about here.
Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda (Little Simon)
This stunning pop-up book brings out the true beauty of nature. Each page features a woodland animal embracing a new snowfall. Glittery white and eye-catching metallic papers complement the pale color palette of pinks and blues for each dramatic page turn. A book that awes the reader not only in its immaculate construction, but also in the beauty that is winter.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers ( Dutton Children’s Books)
I had to memorize this famous poem in 4th grade, but it never came so alive to me as when I opened a copy of this illustrated version. Susan Jeffers depicts the largeness and stillness of the woods in the snow with perfection, yet infuses a new warmth and humor into the poem by creating a jolly, nature-loving narrator (who stops to make snow angels) and a cast of snowy woodland animals hiding in the illustrations.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin)
This Caldecott-winning biography of Wilson Bentley depicts a man’s love and fascination for snow. The story is told alongside factual sidebars and end matter to offer further information about “Snowflake Bentley” for older readers. The text is perfectly matched by woodcut illustrations by Mary Azarian, who is no stranger to a Vermont winter. Bentley’s photography of snowflakes revealed to the world the delicate beauty and uniqueness of each tiny snow crystal and this book captures the sense of discovery and awe beautifully. For further exploration, you can pick up the Dover edition of Snow Crystals to see the collection of Bentley’s photographs.
Brave Irene by William Steig (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)
If you’re ever feeling a bit defeated by all this snow, take some inspiration from Brave Irene. When her dressmaker mother is unable to deliver an important gown to the duchess during a snowstorm, Irene boldly takes over the task. I think we probably all have felt that feeling of never-ending trudging through the snow, but Irene keeps pushing forward despite bitter wind and high drifts. The snowstorm takes on a wonderful character all its own as Irene’s nemesis, taunting and bullying her the whole way. Ultimately, Irene’s cleverness outsmarts the storm and the little girl saves the day.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (Random House)
A long-time winter favorite, this was a book I returned to again and again as a child. Completely wordless, the comic book format of the illustrations give the impression that you’re watching a movie (and indeed there is a wonderful British animated short film version) and makes it easy for children to read to themselves. A child builds a snowman who comes to life. The boy invites him into the house and the snowman humorously explores the life of humans (flicking light switches, dressing in clothes, driving a car) before taking the boy on a magical winter expedition. A story of imagination, magic and adventure that could only happen during a snowy winter.
What are some of your favorite winter weather picture books? Let us know in the comment below!