Posts Tagged ‘snow’
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Just when we start to think springtime thoughts, Mother Nature reminds us that we live in unpredictable New England! While we enjoy these last snowy days of winter, we thought you might like some snow day reading recommendations. Sometimes it’s nice to remind yourself that even if you’re already thinking of tulips and budding trees, a snow day can be A LOT OF FUN too! Below are some picture books that you may have missed that perfectly capture the joy of a romp in the snow.
Red Sled by Lita Judge (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011)
“At night, a host of woodland creatures plays with a child’s red sled.”
Red Sled by Patricia Thomas illustrated by Chris L. Demarest (Boyds Mills Press, 2008)
“A boy and his father lift one another’s spirits by going sledding on a winter’s night.”
Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman, illustrated by Liza Woodruff (Sterling, 2010)
“Animals fall off a speeding sled one by one until only a lonely caribou is left, chasing a giant snowball that has engulfed the falling animals.”
This Place in the Snow by Rebecca Bond (Dutton Children’s Books, 2004)
“After a night of silent snowfall, people awaken to the sound of a plow making a huge snow mound, which they work together to transform into a very special place where they all can play.”
Snow Day! By Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Scott Nash (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002)
“Four crocodile friends enjoy a snowy day of sledding.”
Snow! Snow! Snow! By Lee Harper (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009)
“A father and his two sons spend a perfect day sledding together.”
Snow Day for Mouse By Judy Cox, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler (Holiday House, 2012)
“On a snowy day, Mouse is swept outside where he plays in the snow, ice skates on a frozen puddle, and makes sure his friends the birds get something to eat.”
A Perfect Day by Carin Berger (Greenwillow Books, 2012)
“Young friends enjoy a day of sledding, snowball fights, and ice skating one snowy day in their hillside village.”
The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Rider Ever! By Rebecca Rule, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes (Islandport Press, 2012)
“Seven children work together to navigate their way up a steep, icy hill so that they can enjoy an exciting sled ride.”
Winter Eyes By Douglas Florian (Greenwillow Books, 1999)
“A collection of poems about winter, including “Sled,” “Icicles,” and “Ice Fishing.”.”
What are your favorite books about playing in the snow?
Monday, January 9th, 2012
It’s winter in New England, but where’s all our snow? I like looking at these snowy picture books to put me in a winter-y mood, even when outside my window there’s not a flake on the ground. It’s lovely to live vicariously through books! I did a snow puzzler last year so I had to pick ten more picture books that I hadn’t used before. Can you guess which ones they are? I admit I got a little sneaky with one or two of them…
What’s your favorite picture book about snow?
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle Books, 2011)
Over and Under the Snow follows a girl and her father on cross-country skis, while tracks and keen observation hint at life under the snow. The pictures complete stories suggested by the poetic text, which follows the father, daughter, and animals leaving marks on the terrain and the hidden life of snowshoe hares, voles, bullfrogs in the mud at the bottom of ponds, and beavers huddled in a lodge. The tone is as peaceful as the hushed woods, and the repetition soothing, but we also get a sense of adventure and a quiet education in science. The mixed media illustrations have a feel almost as timeless as the forest, and an enchanting simplicity, while changes in scale surprise us into attention. A fox appears in a burst of red that gets echoed by the girl’s red hat and mittens, and the pajamas she wears when at last curled up on white sheets for a well-deserved rest.
An afterword offers more information about wildlife, and further reading is suggested. The lovely book nudges you toward the winter woods, ready to look and listen with a grander attention and joy.
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Want more recommendations from The Carle Bookshop? Click here to read for Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
from A Farmer's Alphabet by Mary Azarian (David R. Godine Publishers, 1981).
In New England, March means maple syrup! Ever since late February, when I saw the metal sap buckets make their first appearances on the trunks of maple trees, I’ve felt my springtime craving for the sweet syrup return. I have fond memories of the early spring trips to the sugar shack with my parents and sisters while there was still snow on the ground. There we’d watch them boil and boil the sap down over open fires while we’d feast on giant pancakes. I even had a good New England upbringing by hardy Yankee parents who once tried their own hand at tapping maples and boiling the sap down to syrup right in our backyard. But I know that this old tradition is foreign to a lot of people. I remember laughing when local Northampton, MA author, Rich Michelson told me that his first draft of Tuttle’s Red Barn had maple syrup being made in the fall! (In his defense, he’s a born and bred city man and that’s what editors are for anyway, right?)
There are many wonderful books for children that feature making maple syrup with wonderful illustrations. Here are a few of my favorites:
Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, illustrated by Barbara Cooney (Puffin Books)
This award-winning picture book follows a year in the life of this New England family during the 1800′s, from shearing the sheep, spinning the wool into yarn and tapping the sugar maples to make syrup to sell at the market. Barbara Cooney’s landscapes are especially beautiful and will make anyone wish they were in New England, even if just for a moment.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams (HarperTrophy)
In a chapter titled “The Sugar Snow” (which I think may also now be available condensed as its own picture book) Pa explains step-by-step to Mary and Laura how their Grandpa turns sap from maple trees into sweet syrup and sugar. It was in this book that I first learned what weather conditions are best for making maple syrup. “It’s called a sugar snow, because a snow this time of year means that men can make more sugar. You see, this little cold spell and the snow will hold back the leafing of the trees, and that makes a longer run of sap.” So at least there’s something good about this snow we just got during our first week of spring, right?
Have you ever tried maple sugar on snow? When the syrup has boiled hot enough and then it hits cold snow, it balls up into a sweet and hard candy. Both From Dawn till Dusk by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, illustrated by Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin) and the new Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter (David R. Godine Publishers) show how this special treat is made, while beautifully illustrating how making maple syrup is a family tradition that can bring everyone close.
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie
In Toot and Puddle by Hollie Hobbie (Little, Brown & Co., 1997), Puddle checks the sap buckets on his maple trees. As the two pigs lead readers throughout the year, you learn that where Puddle lives, “March meant maple syrup. Puddle wished Toot were there to taste the pancakes.”
Yum! Pancakes may very well be the perfect food to go with homemade local maple syrup, and there’s no lack of picture books about pancakes either! So stay tuned tomorrow when I share a few of my favorite pancake books (including Eric Carle’s very own pancake recipe).
For more information for children on how maple syrup is made, the blog wordplayhouse has some great photos and clear step-by-step instructions. Check out these free printables perfect for using with your own kids or in a classroom. I also found a great recipe here for maple syrup caramelized popcorn that I tried right away – very yummy!
Have you ever tried making your own maple syrup? Do you have a favorite book for introducing kids to this unique process?
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
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.
Photo by Kristin Angel
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!
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Open House for Butterflies is one of my ultimate favorite picture books. Written by Ruth Kraus and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this small format book is perfect for gift giving. Like another book by the same duo, A Hole is to Dig, this book is not a narrative, but a book of sweet and simple observances. With delicate black and white spot illustrations accompanying the text, you learn about the “good things” in life (long before Martha Stewart claimed this term, mind you) from a child’s perspective. “A good thing to think about is what kind of face to make when you say please.” As everyone knows, how your face looks and how you say please can very make or break the negotiations when you’re trying to get something you want.
The language is delightfully odd and pitch perfect to how young children often think and speak. “A baby is so you could be the boss.” The book is filled with terrific advice and silly definitions for both young and old and it still makes me smile whenever I revisit it (which is a lot!). I love to give this book as an unexpected gift, especially to someone who might need a little cheering up. “Everybody should be quiet near a little stream and listen.”
But the page I’ve been thinking about lately?
“A good way to tell it’s snowing is when everybody runs outside and throws their hats in the air.”
Hooray! It’s snowing! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately…
How about you? Do you have a favorite sweet book you love to give as a gift?
Monday, December 27th, 2010
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some snow! Just like each individual snowflake in a snowstorm is unique, each illustrator here has his or her own unique style of illustrating snow. Can you guess the name of the picture book behind each of these snowstorms? Let us know in the comments below!
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
It’s been SO cold here in New England lately. Customers braving the bitter winds and snow are stocking up on picture books to get them through these cold days and long nights stuck inside. But there’s just something so cozy reading about snowy days from the comfort of your warm bed or couch, isn’t there? So grab a blanket and a cup of cocoa and check out some of our favorite winter picture books.
The Mitten retold by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
This fresh retelling of the classic tale makes a great read-aloud. McClintock’s illustrations are sweetly humorous and I love all her details right down to being able to see each stitch in the knit mittens.
The Snow Day by Komako Sakai
After being cooped up inside on a snow day from school, a little bunny convinces her mother to play together in the snow at night in this quiet and beautifully illustrated book.
A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
A little color in the black and white world of the snowy arctic offers that little “something else” that everyone needs.
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
In Shulevitz’s simple and beautiful way, he shows that a child’s faith in a coming snowfall can transform a dreary day to a white world of imagination, play and celebration.
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
I used to be so obsessed with tracing the Katy’s path in the snow as she plowed her way through town. Burton’s illustrated borders and detailed maps kept me captivated for hours.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr
This quiet and lyrical story shows the peaceful beauty of a snowy world at night.
Snow Sounds by David A. Johnson
When it snows, everything seems to stop and go perfectly quiet. When it’s so quiet you can hear the sounds you might otherwise miss. Told entirely in onomatopoeia, this book tells a story with sounds that can only be associated with a snow day.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
My very favorite book about the simple pleasures of playing and exploring in newly fallen snow.
Click here to buy any of these winter-weather-books!
Looking for more winter book round-ups? Check out the blogs ShelfTalker and SouleMama for more cozy recommendations.