PICTURE BOOK CAROUSEL: Let It Snow …
My children have always dreamt of a White Christmas. I doubt it will ever happen but it is wonderful, at this time of year, to be able to delve into books that offer us that longed for magic of the blank canvas of snow.
This year three beautiful books that have the white fluffy stuff at the heart of their tales have been published and you can read a bit more about them below. You can also hear about them in October’s edition of Down the Rabbit Hole radio programme here .
This evocative classic poem by Walter de la Mare about snowfall is brought to life wonderfully by Carolina Rabei’s rather gorgeous artwork which depicts a family preparing for Christmas. Her use of space and panels allow the story to move at different paces and this works so, so well. Her limited palette of muted colours works wonders, not only because it is reminiscent of the colours that snow brings to the landscape but also because it is almost in complete contrast to the garishness of Christmas, reminding readers that precious time with family should really be what matters at this particular time of year.
This is one book in which the reader has to savour the illustrations, which say so much. I would go as far as saying that *gasp* the poem is eclipsed by the powerful visual storytelling. It is both contemporary and classical, and one that will definitely be worth reading in the run-up to Christmas. A perfect addition to a Christmas book box or indeed a bookish Advent Calendar.
It has snowed very hard all night and it’s Snow Day for everyone, who get to stay at home. Apart from Danny and his teacher, Mr Trapper, who turn up at school regardless, and end up stuck there. This is bad news indeed as Mr Trapper is Danny’s least favourite teacher, Danny is Mr Trapper’s least favourite pupil. But then something quite magical happens …
This tale of an unlikely friendship is wonderfully heartwarming and really quite touching, as well as being a wonderful ode to imaginative play. Rebecca Cobb’s art work is exquisite and so utterly effective at recalling the innocence of childhood and her simple drawing nonetheless capture emotions perfectly.
There is something so delightfully nostalgic about this book, no doubt adult readers’ childhood memories of snow days will flood back as they read. The text is quite long so this is probably best suited for slightly older readers.
It is snow day, and fresh, crisp, undisturbed snow awaits right outside Sam’s window in the silence that follows snowfall. But Sam has to wait for his granddad to get ready and he is taking far too long. Soon everyone is out and the snow is no longer still and smooth … but that doesn’t mean there is no fun to be had.
It would be impossible to talk about this book without mentioning the incredible use of white space in Sam Usher’s artwork, particularly as this is a large format picture book. This is a bold move but a very effective one which conveys wonderfully all the possibilities that snow has to offer, as if to say: the page is blank, make up your own adventure. And so Sam and his Granddad do, eventually, with a bit of imaginative magic thrown in. Usher’s artwork has been described a lot as Quentin Blake-esque, in the best possible way, and it is easy to see why, in the lines particularly. But I think the use of colour is very different and very much his own, and the skies particularly are astonishingly beautiful.
A wonderful tale of a special relationship between a boy and his grandfather, this might just be the perfect present if you know such a pair.
Source: review copies from publishers