When you’re two years old and the last snowfall was eleven months ago, news of a blizzard is HUGE! Last weekend we enjoyed (some enjoyed more than others) 20″ of snow! It was just as magical and as curious to Preschool Bookworm as it was to Peter in The Snowy Day. I dare to say even more exciting than Christmas morning! Here are a few photos from our Snowy Day– the astonishing first glance out the window and the boys’ favorite snow activities (my teething bookworm loved the endless supply of ice!).
Anyhow, back to the book! Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day may be 54 years old, but it perfectly encapsulates the wonder of snowfall in a child’s eyes.
Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1988 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.
Title/author: The Snowy Day
Copyright date: 1962
Plot in a Sentence (or two): Peter awakens to a blanket of snow outside his window; he explores the snowy world and even tries to save a snowball in his pocket.
Why It’s Timeless: Keats won a Caldecott Award for the artwork of The Snowy Day, created through collage. He used blocks of color intermixed with textures (such as canvas to represent bed linen) to create a rich effect. The text is the same quality and invites participation as well as inferencing skills (what happened to the snowball?!). It’s hard to believe, but this delightful and innocent story was highly controversial in the 1960s– because it was the first full-color picture book to feature a black protagonist, and further was written by a white author (a Polish Jewish man, who was no stranger to discrimination). Fortunately, Keats created several more books about Peter (A Letter to Amy, Whistle for Willie, and Hi, Cat) and helped to pave the way for diversity in children’s books.
While You’re Reading: Peter’s snow day activities beg to be acted out! Practice walking “with toes pointing out, like this…. with toes pointing in, like that,” dragging your feet to make tracks (perhaps in your carpeting, like we did?), making snow angels, pretending to climb a mountain… you get the idea! Get into it and maybe enjoy a cup of hot chocolate afterward! 😉
Just for Fun: The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website is full of fantastic resources! Take a look for a child friendly biography, animated read alouds, games, and even celebrity quotes about Keats’ personal & social impact. The website’s aim is “bringing the multicultural, creative spirit of Ezra Jack Keats into children’s lives and literature.”
The Snowy Day should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate link provided.