by Uri Shulevitz. (Farrar, Strauss, 1998. ISBN 0374370923. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades PreK-4.
This is one of those books where you've got to start reading with the cover. There are few words in the entire book, it's the illustrations carry the story. We first see the bookshop on the cover, but we hardly notice it because of the other delightful details revealed there. The title words are snow-covered. A boy and a dog romp in the snow in direct contrast to the drab village and villagers. That bookshop will be important to the plot so we'd better look at it more closely. The bookstore is called "Mother Goose Books" and figures of Mother Goose, her goose, Humpty Dumpty and two images of the man in the moon stand in bold relief on the storefront.
The first page is bleak. A gray European town barely stands out against an equally gray sky. The image opens up on the next page and we see villagers going about their business. Some seem to be engaged in conversation and the text points us to a tiny dot we might otherwise have missed--one snowflake. The boy and dog don't miss it and they react joyfully even though the grandfather downplays it. After all, it's only one snowflake. It's meaningless, he says. It's enough for boy and dog, however, and they go outside to see it.
Now there are two snowflakes. A wonderfully dignified man with a very, very tall hat is not impressed. "It's nothing," he says. And so it goes. More and more snowflakes appear in the sky and the boy and dog maintain that it is indeed snowing. Townspeople, the radio and even the television proclaim that it is not, but the flakes keep coming. There are wonderful images of the townspeople, covered and bent over with snow while denying its existence but only the boy and dog enjoy it.
However, as the boy and dog go by the bookstore, Mother Goose, the goose and Humpty Dumpty come to life and join the boy and dog in the street as they romp in the snow. This is a book about the weather and the joy it can bring.
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