The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

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by Shirley Neitzel. Illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker. Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades PreK-2.
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Review

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The "House that Jack Built format" has been used and over-used but, just when you think there's nothing else they can do with it, something like The Jacket I Wear in the Snow comes along. Shirley Neitzel and Nancy Winslow Parker have used the simple format and combined it with a rebus puzzle to delight the very young for whom getting dressed and undressed for the snow is a Herculean task. It's one of the best of the predictable books.

Each piece of clothing is placed on a boy who can then do everything but walk. To say that this child is overdressed is an understatement. All does not go smoothly, the clothing is "bunchy and hot," "wrinkled a lot," "stiff in the knee," "too big for me," and then there's the stuck zipper! The rebuses create colorful playfulness through the pages and draw children in to the chant.

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Activities

  • Locate every item of clothing mentioned in the book. Use them to dress somebody.

  • Comparisons abound, of course, between this and other cumulative stories and you may expand the lesson a bit by getting into some like The World that Jack Built and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (see below).
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Related Books

  • cover art The World that Jack Built by Ruth Brown. (1991, Dutton. ISBN 0525446354. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr PreK-3.
    A butterfly leads us and a black cat on an observation tour. It may be the butterfly who narrates the story in a "This is the house that Jack built" style. After viewing the house and grounds of a lovely manor estate, we go into the next valley which has been badly polluted to the factory that Jack also built. The book ends with cat and butterfly running away from the devastation. Read More including discussion starters, activities, related books and links.

  • cover art Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. (1975, Dial. ISBN 0803760892. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr K-3.
    This Caldecott award winning African tale uses the cumulative format. It happened this way: a mosquito said something foolish to the iguana who put sticks in his ears so that he would hear no more such foolishness. This frightened the next animal who saw the iguana and so on. As the animals explain the sequence of events, one part of the illustration shows what they think happened while another part shows what really happened. The books outstanding illustrations are done with vivid watercolors and an airbrush, each figure or part of a figure is outlined in white, giving the page a stained glass look. Read More.

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    Grades 2 - 9
    Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Illustrated by Mary Azarian. Picture Book, Nonfiction. 32 pages.
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    Wilson Bentley was fascinated by snowflakes. Born in Vermont in 1865, his parents supported his interest, spending their savings to buy him a camera and microscope. His thousands of photographs are still used in studies today. Martin tells the tale simply with sidebars adding further information about the science behind Bentley's studies. Read More in our Featured Book Teachers Guide with discussion questions, extension activities, related books and links.

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    Grades 4 - 9
    The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht. Nonfiction Picture Book. 48 pages.
    Find this book: Local Bookstore, Amazon, B&N icon

    Using a microscope Libbrecht, a physicist, takes photos of snowflakes. The photos are simply stunning. No unit on snow or winter is complete without this or one of his books for adults. This is a wonderful science and photography book. Use it with other books about scientists because we get a glimpse of Libbrecht's work through this book. This also belongs in any unit on crystal formation or weather. Instructions on how to cut a scientifically correct snowflake out of paper are included. Read More.

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    Grades 1 - 4
    Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Rick Allen. Poetry. 32 pages.
    Find this book: Local Bookstore, Amazon, B&N icon

    Poetry, factual text and extraordinary illustrations fill this book about how some animals have adapted to winter. Swans, snakes, beavers, moose and more fill the cold setting with life and warmth. The poems are wonderful and varied. Each poem is accompanied, on the facing page, with facts about the poem's subject. On both pages of each spread are the remarkable illustrations done, in part, with hand inked linoleum blocks. This poet/illustrator team has, once again, created a treasure. Read More.

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