The Snowy Day

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Snowy Day Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommend
Gratitude, diversity central to sweet book adaptation.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 59 minutes

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The show exposes kids to aspects of holiday traditions from different cultures. Peter and Layla taste gelt and partake in a Hanukkah tradition, and friends bring traditional foods like Asian noodles and tamales to a party.

Positive Messages

Touching messages about community, family, gratitude, and the real meaning of the holiday season. The story centers on an African-American boy living in a racially and culturally diverse urban setting, which introduces viewers to different holiday traditions within the Jewish faith and in Latino and Asian cultures, for instance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peter is kindhearted and eager to try new things. His soft-spoken mother gently guides him to self-awareness by helping him express his feelings, and Nana's wisdom does him well also. Peter finds everyone in his neighborhood to be friendly and welcoming, giving the place a warm sense of community.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

This holiday special is inspired by the book of the same name by Ezra Jack Keats.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Snowy Day is an adaptation of Ezra Jack Keats' acclaimed picture book of the same name. It builds on the original story of young Peter's adventures in the snow by setting them in a bustling city neighborhood brimming with ethnic diversity. The narrator's words closely follow the book's, giving it a familiar rhythm and sound for those who know and love the original story. Peter's experiences illustrate the true joys of the holiday season found in being grateful for sharing time with family and friends. An all-star cast rounds out this sweet retelling of a classic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 10-year-old Written byEPied February 11, 2021
Adult Written byJeffs27 December 13, 2020

Great Christmas movie for kids young and old

Much more than the book. Not too scary for young ones.
Kid, 9 years old May 18, 2020

What's the story?

In THE SNOWY DAY, a young boy named Peter (voiced by Donielle Hansley) sets out on a snowy walk to his grandmother's (Angela Bassett) home to escort her -- and her traditional macaroni-and-cheese dish -- back to his house for a Christmas Eve party. Along the way, he meets neighbors, makes new friends, and plays in the snow, until a mishap threatens to ruin the day for him altogether. As Peter reconsiders the meaning of the holiday, he comes to see that it's not the Christmas traditions that make the day special so much as it's the people with whom he shares them.

Is it any good?

With an accomplished voice cast and animation reminiscent of the look of the written work, this interpretation takes viewers along for Peter's many discoveries in his neighborhood. Building on a story that broke racial boundaries in children's literature of the time, The Snowy Day highlights the ethnic diversity so notable in its urban setting. As it fills in the gaps between the pages of Peter's adventures in the book, it introduces the audience to a true melting pot of cultures and faiths that exists in his community.

With the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, and Boyz II Men (who pop in as a capella singers on the street) among the voice cast, this simple TV retelling's polish has broad appeal. It's a gentle story with familiar stanzas from the book and warm themes about family, friends, and diversity to set the scene for the holidays.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gratitude in The Snowy Day and in general. What are you grateful for? Why do you think gratitude is an important character strength?

  • Families can talk about holiday traditions. What are some of your family's favorite things to do around the holidays? How do they reflect your faith or heritage? How does gratitude fit into your traditions as well?

  • How does Peter's experience with diversity compare with yours? Is your community very diverse? How do our differences make us better as a whole? 

  • If you've read the book, compare it to this screen version. What holes in the story did this fill in for you? Did the additions of characters contribute to the story in a positive way?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holiday fun

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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