Friday, December 21, 2007
Now that it is officially winter, snowmen become a part of everyday life. We see them in front of houses, in stores and on TV. Some of them we even build ourselves. Let’s take a closer look at a few more in these books.
THE THREE SNOW BEARS, by Jan Brett, Putnam, $16.99; ages 4-8.
Aloo-ki is out fishing one morning. Her dog sled and huskies float away on the ice where they had been waiting. At the very same time mama, papa and baby bear are out taking a stroll because their soup is too hot. Aloo-ki wanders upon their igloo and walks inside. She finds the bowls of soup and one is too hot, the next is too cold, but the third is just right and she drinks it all. Jan Brett and her illustrations bring us a delightful version of the Goldilocks story. As in her previous stories, the left side margin picture includes what has happened and the right side margin gives a glimpse to the following page. Be sure to check out her Web page, www.janbrett.com, with pictures and activities for all of her books. She now includes a video on how to draw a polar bear featuring Hudson, the baby bear at Brookfield Zoo.
SNOWMEN AT NIGHT JIGSAW PUZZLE BOOK, by Caralyn Buehner, pictures by Mark Buehner, Dial, $10.99; ages 3 and up.
Snowmen often look a little different the day after they are built. Ever wonder why? Maybe he was off playing with his friends overnight. The snowmen in this rhyming story play softball, ice skate and go sledding. After they finish playing, they gather up their things and go back home. That’s why in the morning he looks a little out of shape. The hardboard book contains six 12-piece puzzles of the snowmen playing in the park for children to complete. It doesn’t even have to be a snowy day to put these guys together.
A PERFECT SNOWMAN, written and illustrated by Preston McDaniels, Simon & Schuster, $15.99; ages 4-8.
When the little boy wakes up, the ground is covered with snow, the perfect kind for building a snowman. He quickly goes outside and rolls three perfect balls of snow. Then he decorates his snowman with coal for the buttons and face, a carrot nose, twig arms, a scarf and hat and finally an umbrella. All the neighborhood children comment on how perfect the snowman is. When night comes, a rabbit and her babies ask if they could have the carrot to eat. The snowman reluctantly gives them the carrot. A cat passes by and asks the snowman for his hat and scarf so he can be warm. Again, the snowman gives in. Then comes an angelic little girl who asks for the coal. The snowman doesn’t hesitate and also gives her the umbrella. After that night no one came to see the perfect snowman. Spring turns the snowman into a puddle and the sun takes the puddle up into the sky where the snowman wakes up. When he looks around he sees the angelic little girl who tells him she has been waiting for him.
SNOW DAY!, written by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, Peachtree Publishers, $16.95; ages 4-8.
The weatherman predicts snow for tomorrow. What great news for the family. The brother and sister have lots to gather for tomorrow. In the morning they can stay in their PJs and drink hot chocolate as they snuggle under the blanket. They need to gather their scarves, mittens and boots for playing outside. The sleds need to be handy so they can shoot down the hill. As they go to bed the snow is falling like a "bazillion goose feathers." When they wake up in the morning they hear voices of kids on the street, but they aren’t playing in the snow—they are on their way to school. What a disappointment, but wait until you find out who is most unhappy.
EXPLORE WINTER! 25 GREAT WAYS TO LEARN ABOUT WINTER, by Maxine Anderson, illustrated by Alexis Frederick-Frost, Nomad Press, $12.95; ages 6-9.
Within the six chapters of this book, children can learn about winter months by doing a variety of projects, activities and experiments. I especially like the chapter about snow. One activity is to put hair spray on a glass slide and then use it to catch a snowflake. Keep the slide in a cold place and the hair spray will harden into the shape of the snowflake. Look at it under the microscope. This is but one of the many activities to enjoy during the winter months. Have fun!
Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.