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Home > GreenSense Directory > Books > Kid's Books > Winter

GreenSense Directory

Winter

Winter is a magical time for children. While we adults are grumbling over cold feet and icy windshields, our kids are busy building snowmen, planning snowforts, and shrieking with delight as they race down icy hills. Winter provides a rich theme for children's books, and there are many fine ones to choose from. Here are four of my favorites.

-Jessica Wagener

New

First Snow - - By Emily Arnold McCully Harper and Row, 1985. This wordless picture book is really a gem. It is the story of a timid little mouse, who overcomes her fear of the big hill and learns the joy of sledding. We see the mouse family, which is composed of ten children, two parents, and two grandparents, piling into their old red pickup in the deep, deep snow. They drive along singing, getting out to push the old truck in the steep spots. They arrive at the sledding hill, which all the mouse children slide gleefully down. But one little mouse is too scared to go. Her fear as she sits alone, perched on her sled at the top of that huge hill, is clearly conveyed without a word of text. Finally, after several pages of suspenseful waiting, she gets up her courage and slides down the hill. And guess what? She loves it! Young children love the glee with which the little mouse overcomes her fear. We share with her the simple joy of playing in the snow. In the end, as the sun gets low and the sky gets pink, her family has to practically drag her away. My favorite illustration is the very last one, which shows the little mouse asleep at the dinner table, surrounded by her large family. There is lots of movement and action in this story, which makes it particularly appropriate for the very young. The illustrations are rich and lively, and the mouse family's affection and caring for each other comes through on every page.

Happy Winter - - by Karen Gundersheimer Harper & Row, 1982. The simple delights of winter are lovingly portrayed in this charming picture book. Two sisters go through a cheery winter day which includes pancakes for breakfast, snow angel making, dress up, baking a cake and making a secret present for Mama's birthday. The day ends with a steamy tub, lots of books and warm blankets , and a special winter lullaby from Mama;

A snowy blanket's tucked in tight. And so are you and now goodnight. A happy winter day is done. Now close your eyes and dreams will come.
The story is told in cheery rhyme. The family's house is pleasingly messy, filled with bright patterned wall paper, children's artwork, and toys. The children are drawn with great life and energy. This book really speaks to my heart. It seems to recall a simpler time, when children had time to follow their noses and parents had time to stop and bake a cake. It may be a little wordy for the youngest child, but ages 3 -7 will probably love it.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - - by Dr. Suess, Random House, 1957. This is such a well loved classic it seems trite to mention it on a list of selected children's books. However its popularity and longevity are completely deserved. This is just a wonderful Christmas story. The art is funny, fresh , and as appealing to children today as it was a generation ago. The anti-materialistic message is probably more relevant now than it was when the book was published in 1957. The climax of the story, when the grinch stands on the top of Mount Crumpit with his feet "ice -cold in the snow" and realizes the true meaning of Christmas still brings tears to my eyes. The use of language is absolutely superb. The rhymes are brilliant and the meter just rolls off the tongue. Babies who are just learning to talk love to hear this book for the juiciness of the sounds, older children will be heard reciting snippets as they play. This is one of Suess's most satisfying books, and one of the best Christmas books to be found anywhere.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening - - by Robert Frost; illustrated by Susan Jeffers Dutton Children's Books, 1978.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Susan Jeffers has taken this classic American poem, laid it out in picture book format, and illustrated it with subtle drawings which artfully capture the magic and mystery of the woods in winter. The pictures tell a story within a story as a man adventures out into the snowy woods to leave food for the animals, then returns to his home and family. Small woodland creatures, half camoflaged by the snow, peer out of every page, while the snow swirls around in great ribbons and vortexes. Robert Frost's words are timeless and this poem is especially nice for children , with its singing rhyme and concrete imagery. I wish I could find more books like this, using a classic poem as the basis for a beautifully illustrated picture book. With only one line to a page, this book is appropriate for the very young, but older children will be captivated by its beauty and mystery as well.

The Snow Tree - - by Caroline Repchuk Joseph Martin, Dutton Books, 1997. Little Bear woke and the world was white. 'Where have all the colors gone?' he cried, for he had never seen such a white and wintery world before. But the wind only answered with silence. But one by one the animals come, bringing the colors of nature with them. Lynx brings orange leaves, squirrel brings scarlet berries, blue jay brings some of his own feathers, and so on until at last moose brings a bright gold star. The animals all decorate an evergreen tree with these gifts from nature. This book has inspired more than one family to search the natural world for decorations for their tree. The illustrations are vibrantly colored and textured, so a young child can actually feel the animal's fur, the blue jay's feathers, and the drifts of snow. This book, with its message of creating beauty with what you have, is an antidote for holiday greed. It is a book to be savoured, touched, carted around, and read again and again. -Jessica Wagener Visitor Comment: To Whom It May Concern, The Snow Tree was one of my daughter's favorite bedtime stories. So naturally when asked what book she wanted to depict for a storyboard in the Reading Fair Contest, she replied, "The Snow Tree". I thought to myself that it would be challenging, and it was. The storyboard she created turned out to be magnificent. The snow she sprayed on the board gave it a magical quality. She has won three blue ribbons for it, and we are scheduled to compete again in the state competition in Jackson. Needless to say, Caroline Repchuk's book, The Snow Tree, will always hold a special place in our heart. -Wren

The Snowman (Video) - - by Raymond Briggs, directed by Dianne Jackson Snowman Enterprises Limited, 1982, 1993. Distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video. A young boy's snowman comes to life and brings him on a magical journey to the North Pole in this beautifully animated short film. I don't usually recommend videos but The Snowman has a special place in my heart. A young boy builds a snowman and wakes up in the night to find that it has come to life. They have a jolly romp around the house and garden, and the boy introduces the snowman to such modern wonders as electric lights, false teeth, refrigeration and motorcycles. Then the snowman takes the boy by the hand and, running awkwardly at first, they become airborne and go flying over hills and fields, over the ocean, over ships at sea and whales playing and penguins clinging to icy cliffs. Eventually they reach the North Pole where the snowmen are having a party filled with music, food and dance. The little boy gets to meet Santa and his reindeer before it is time to go home. This simple story is brought to life with incredible beauty in this short film. The animation shimmers with light and color, the music is haunting. There is very little dialogue but plenty of gentle humour and love in this moving story. This one is well worth turning on the TV for. 29 minutes.

The Snowy Day - - by Ezra Jack Keats Viking Press, 1952. Peter is a small African American boy who lives in the city. He wakes up one morning to find the world covered with snow. He puts on his bright red snowsuit and runs outside. He spends the day by himself, experiencing the wintery world and all its pleasures. Though this book is set in the inner city, it manages to capture that magically mysterious quality which snow brings to any landscape. It also conveys very beautifilly the joys of spending time alone, an experience which has nearly vanished from childhood today. This is a quiet book, its pleasures cushioned in the thick blanket of snow which appears on every page. I love Peter 's sturdy independence and good judgement ("He thought it would be fun to join the big boys in their snowball fight , but he knew he wasn't old enough - not yet"). The illustrations have an abstract, quality, which adds to the dreaminess of the story. The colors are vivid and bold, and lots of unusual textures are used. This is a great book for very young children, and is even published in board book format. Don't miss this beautiful classic.

The Tomten and the Fox - - by Astrid Lindgren; illustrated by Harald Wiberg The Putnam and Grosset Group, 1966, 1997. An old, old tomten guards the snowy farm at night, and shares his porridge with a hungry fox. This is a beautiful quiet story from Sweden, filled with moonlight and mystery. The tomten is a little gnome, an old, old man as the text tells us, who guards the farm at night though the family has never seen him. Inside the cottage children play, there is food on the table and a Christmas tree glows with candles. Outside, a hungry fox is looking for something to eat in the cold silvery moonlight, and contemplates stealing a hen. But the tomten is there, and gently reminds the fox that he is not allowed to steal hens, and offers him some porridge instead. The story is very simply and poetically told, the illustrations are simply magical. Younger children epecially will enjoy its simplicity and beauty.

***

First Snow - - By Emily Arnold McCully Harper and Row, 1985. This wordless picture book is really a gem. It is the story of a timid little mouse, who overcomes her fear of the big hill and learns the joy of sledding. We see the mouse family, which is composed of ten children, two parents, and two grandparents, piling into their old red pickup in the deep, deep snow. They drive along singing, getting out to push the old truck in the steep spots. They arrive at the sledding hill, which all the mouse children slide gleefully down. But one little mouse is too scared to go. Her fear as she sits alone, perched on her sled at the top of that huge hill, is clearly conveyed without a word of text. Finally, after several pages of suspenseful waiting, she gets up her courage and slides down the hill. And guess what? She loves it! Young children love the glee with which the little mouse overcomes her fear. We share with her the simple joy of playing in the snow. In the end, as the sun gets low and the sky gets pink, her family has to practically drag her away. My favorite illustration is the very last one, which shows the little mouse asleep at the dinner table, surrounded by her large family. There is lots of movement and action in this story, which makes it particularly appropriate for the very young. The illustrations are rich and lively, and the mouse family's affection and caring for each other comes through on every page.

Happy Winter - - by Karen Gundersheimer Harper & Row, 1982. The simple delights of winter are lovingly portrayed in this charming picture book. Two sisters go through a cheery winter day which includes pancakes for breakfast, snow angel making, dress up, baking a cake and making a secret present for Mama's birthday. The day ends with a steamy tub, lots of books and warm blankets , and a special winter lullaby from Mama;

A snowy blanket's tucked in tight. And so are you and now goodnight. A happy winter day is done. Now close your eyes and dreams will come.
The story is told in cheery rhyme. The family's house is pleasingly messy, filled with bright patterned wall paper, children's artwork, and toys. The children are drawn with great life and energy. This book really speaks to my heart. It seems to recall a simpler time, when children had time to follow their noses and parents had time to stop and bake a cake. It may be a little wordy for the youngest child, but ages 3 -7 will probably love it.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - - by Dr. Suess, Random House, 1957. This is such a well loved classic it seems trite to mention it on a list of selected children's books. However its popularity and longevity are completely deserved. This is just a wonderful Christmas story. The art is funny, fresh , and as appealing to children today as it was a generation ago. The anti-materialistic message is probably more relevant now than it was when the book was published in 1957. The climax of the story, when the grinch stands on the top of Mount Crumpit with his feet "ice -cold in the snow" and realizes the true meaning of Christmas still brings tears to my eyes. The use of language is absolutely superb. The rhymes are brilliant and the meter just rolls off the tongue. Babies who are just learning to talk love to hear this book for the juiciness of the sounds, older children will be heard reciting snippets as they play. This is one of Suess's most satisfying books, and one of the best Christmas books to be found anywhere.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening - - by Robert Frost; illustrated by Susan Jeffers Dutton Children's Books, 1978.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Susan Jeffers has taken this classic American poem, laid it out in picture book format, and illustrated it with subtle drawings which artfully capture the magic and mystery of the woods in winter. The pictures tell a story within a story as a man adventures out into the snowy woods to leave food for the animals, then returns to his home and family. Small woodland creatures, half camoflaged by the snow, peer out of every page, while the snow swirls around in great ribbons and vortexes. Robert Frost's words are timeless and this poem is especially nice for children , with its singing rhyme and concrete imagery. I wish I could find more books like this, using a classic poem as the basis for a beautifully illustrated picture book. With only one line to a page, this book is appropriate for the very young, but older children will be captivated by its beauty and mystery as well.

The Snow Tree - - by Caroline Repchuk Joseph Martin, Dutton Books, 1997. Little Bear woke and the world was white. 'Where have all the colors gone?' he cried, for he had never seen such a white and wintery world before. But the wind only answered with silence. But one by one the animals come, bringing the colors of nature with them. Lynx brings orange leaves, squirrel brings scarlet berries, blue jay brings some of his own feathers, and so on until at last moose brings a bright gold star. The animals all decorate an evergreen tree with these gifts from nature. This book has inspired more than one family to search the natural world for decorations for their tree. The illustrations are vibrantly colored and textured, so a young child can actually feel the animal's fur, the blue jay's feathers, and the drifts of snow. This book, with its message of creating beauty with what you have, is an antidote for holiday greed. It is a book to be savoured, touched, carted around, and read again and again. -Jessica Wagener Visitor Comment: To Whom It May Concern, The Snow Tree was one of my daughter's favorite bedtime stories. So naturally when asked what book she wanted to depict for a storyboard in the Reading Fair Contest, she replied, "The Snow Tree". I thought to myself that it would be challenging, and it was. The storyboard she created turned out to be magnificent. The snow she sprayed on the board gave it a magical quality. She has won three blue ribbons for it, and we are scheduled to compete again in the state competition in Jackson. Needless to say, Caroline Repchuk's book, The Snow Tree, will always hold a special place in our heart. -Wren

The Snowman (Video) - - by Raymond Briggs, directed by Dianne Jackson Snowman Enterprises Limited, 1982, 1993. Distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video. A young boy's snowman comes to life and brings him on a magical journey to the North Pole in this beautifully animated short film. I don't usually recommend videos but The Snowman has a special place in my heart. A young boy builds a snowman and wakes up in the night to find that it has come to life. They have a jolly romp around the house and garden, and the boy introduces the snowman to such modern wonders as electric lights, false teeth, refrigeration and motorcycles. Then the snowman takes the boy by the hand and, running awkwardly at first, they become airborne and go flying over hills and fields, over the ocean, over ships at sea and whales playing and penguins clinging to icy cliffs. Eventually they reach the North Pole where the snowmen are having a party filled with music, food and dance. The little boy gets to meet Santa and his reindeer before it is time to go home. This simple story is brought to life with incredible beauty in this short film. The animation shimmers with light and color, the music is haunting. There is very little dialogue but plenty of gentle humour and love in this moving story. This one is well worth turning on the TV for. 29 minutes.

The Snowy Day - - by Ezra Jack Keats Viking Press, 1952. Peter is a small African American boy who lives in the city. He wakes up one morning to find the world covered with snow. He puts on his bright red snowsuit and runs outside. He spends the day by himself, experiencing the wintery world and all its pleasures. Though this book is set in the inner city, it manages to capture that magically mysterious quality which snow brings to any landscape. It also conveys very beautifilly the joys of spending time alone, an experience which has nearly vanished from childhood today. This is a quiet book, its pleasures cushioned in the thick blanket of snow which appears on every page. I love Peter 's sturdy independence and good judgement ("He thought it would be fun to join the big boys in their snowball fight , but he knew he wasn't old enough - not yet"). The illustrations have an abstract, quality, which adds to the dreaminess of the story. The colors are vivid and bold, and lots of unusual textures are used. This is a great book for very young children, and is even published in board book format. Don't miss this beautiful classic.

The Tomten and the Fox - - by Astrid Lindgren; illustrated by Harald Wiberg The Putnam and Grosset Group, 1966, 1997. An old, old tomten guards the snowy farm at night, and shares his porridge with a hungry fox. This is a beautiful quiet story from Sweden, filled with moonlight and mystery. The tomten is a little gnome, an old, old man as the text tells us, who guards the farm at night though the family has never seen him. Inside the cottage children play, there is food on the table and a Christmas tree glows with candles. Outside, a hungry fox is looking for something to eat in the cold silvery moonlight, and contemplates stealing a hen. But the tomten is there, and gently reminds the fox that he is not allowed to steal hens, and offers him some porridge instead. The story is very simply and poetically told, the illustrations are simply magical. Younger children epecially will enjoy its simplicity and beauty.

 

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