Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
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Words and artwork create a magical winter wonderland.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The little girl shares tender moments with her grandmother, peering out the window, reading books, sharing stories and dreams about their garden, and walking through a snowy evening.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the words and pictures of this book celebrate the many moods of snow, from the first flake that swirls to the ground to the moment when snowdrifts have blanketed the entire world outside. Those who have lived in snow will recognize the different stages, and feelings. Those who have never had the experience will want to get acquainted.

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What's the story?

This book celebrates falling snow and the different kinds of feelings and moods it evokes. Primarily told through the eyes of a young girl and her grandmother, it begins with one tiny flake that becomes a full-fledged snowfall. Rather than being a story of their day, it's more a description of the different experiences people have of snow, how it falls, and how it changes the world. Snow might quietly fill the world at night, drift down enticingly outside the window during the day, whirl and swirl, drive people indoors, or call them outside to play. It stirs up a cheerful excitement, but also silences a noisy world. Most of all, it brings a comfortable, magical joy to the winter world.

Is it any good?

With a tone as delicate as the first tiny snowflake that begins to fall inside its front cover, this captures the joys of snowy days in its simple, beautiful text and icy blue-toned acrylic artwork. It's hard to describe how the words create such a magical tone, but somehow they do. Obviously they have been written by someone who knows what she is talking about. With a text that is gently poetic and touchingly genuine, Cynthia Rylant expresses what truly must be her love of snowy days and nights. And Lauren Stringer's snow-filled illustrations capture the tone perfectly. Peaceful scenes are quiet and cold, joyful scenes squeal with excitement, and cozy scenes couldn't be cozier.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about snowflakes. They should start by noticing the single tiny flake inside the front cover, and then watching as it grows larger on the following pages until it becomes part of the swirling snow storm. Have you ever watched a snow storm begin? What do you think the little girl is thinking as she gazes out her window? Would you rather watch the snow build throughout the day, or wake in the morning to find it has covered the trees and lawns? Why did the author describe the nighttime snow as a "shy friend afraid to knock?" What does that tell you about the snowfall? What is your favorite thing to do in the snow?

Book details

  • Author: Cynthia Rylant
  • Illustrator: Lauren Stringer
  • Genre: Holiday
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Harcourt
  • Publication date: November 1, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 7
  • Number of pages: 40
  • Available on: Paperback, Hardback
  • Last updated: November 4, 2019

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