Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Avalanche Book Poster Image
Snowball journeys through alphabet in fun book.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the trip the snowball takes from being a fist-size clump of snow to eventually swallowing the universe is a joyful thing to share in, both as written and as illustrated.

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What's the story?

A snowball takes a journey through the alphabet, through time, and through space as it gathers all in its path on the way to becoming an avalanche of merry verse. Michael J. Rosen has given the alphabet slaphappy treatment, while David Butler has put an equally happy-go-lucky spin on his fine collage artwork.


Is it any good?

Though Michael Rosen's verse may take some explaining to young readers, it more than repays the effort. With lines like "And so the Vacuum in the cosmos / clutched this cold compound, / and then rewound it round itself / and hurled it homeward bound," the verse's snap and crackle alone will provoke some toe-tapping. That the alphabet is thrown into the bargain seems a good deal indeed.

David Butler's illustrations work beautifully. He uses collage and painting set against what is often a field of sharp color, and depicts the hungry, growing snowball/avalanche to heady effect. He has set the letters off like fireworks by bumping up their relative size and splashing them with color. Younger kids will appreciate the jazzy mood, with a note of emphasis when each new letter is introduced, while older kids can get a sense of the process involved here -- its movement through time and space -- all wrapped up in snow and laughter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the things the growing snowball rolled up. Have you ever rolled a huge snowball? How big did it get?

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