x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Required reading: children’s books with snowy settings

There are plenty of books written for children about snow and winter. Here is our pick of eight.

Picture books abound showing off snow. Here are eight to get you started:

The Snowy Day, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, reprint edition from Puffin. This 1963 Caldecott Medal winner is the tranquil story of a city boy named Peter who bundles up for crunchy outdoor adventures after discovering it snowed overnight. Featuring cutouts, watercolours and the Brooklyn-born creator’s classic collage work, it’s considered the first full-colour picture book to feature an African-American protagonist.

Snow, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, reprint edition from Square Fish. First out in 1998. A hopeful “boy with dog” lives in a great, grey city inhabited by doubtful grown-ups transformed with the season’s first snowflake. It earned Shulevitz, who survived the bombing of Warsaw as a boy, a Caldecott Medal and may be just the thing to cheer up a modern-day “grandfather with beard” who mutters: “It’s only a snowflake.”

Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian, reprint edition from HMH Books for Young Readers. Another Caldecott Medal-winner, this one was also first published in 1998. It tells the story of Vermont’s Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, a self-educated farmer who combined a microscope and an old bellows camera to become the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.

Frosty the Snowman, illustrated by Wade Zahares, music and lyrics by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, from Imagine. This retelling of the seasonal song standard features a trippy-looking Frosty in black top hat and green mittens. Includes a three-track CD with the song and others performed by the Grammy-winner Kenny Loggins.

The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, from Harper. The black crow and troll practically jump off the page in detailed, lifelike drawings by the Russian-born artist. The queen, with winged headpiece and icy eyes, lures young Kai to her frozen castle, where he nearly perishes from the cold until his rescue by childhood friend Gerda.

Big Snow, written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean, from Farrar Straus Giroux. Tells the story of an antsy young boy who awaits a big snowstorm. Botching chores with his mother lead him into a blizzard dream at nap time.

When it Snows, by Richard Collingridge, from Feiwel and Friends. A picture book debut that features not only an eerie ode to mega-snow and various large icy creatures, but also a good word at the end for reading itself.

Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow, by David Soman and Jacky Davis, Dial Books for Young Readers. The latest in the best-selling franchise by this husband-and-wife team. Lulu dons her trademark ladybug outfit to romp in a magical big snow with her dog, Bingo. Joined by her brother, they create lots of snow animals, including a nice likeness of her pet.