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Snowy days

Winter in New England (and in picture books) usually means one thing: snow. Here are a few stories to put readers in the mood for sledding, snowmen, and hot chocolate.

savage_supertruckWhile the city’s “brave trucks” perform flashy tasks such as fixing power lines and fighting fires, our unassuming, bespectacled hero — star of Stephen Savage’s Supertruck — quietly goes about his job collecting trash. When a blizzard hits, trapping the other trucks in tire-deep snow, the garbage truck sneaks into a garage and emerges as: “SUPERTRUCK!” This preschooler-perfect book features simple, recognizable shapes and bold crayon-box colors; smiley and frowny faces telegraph emotions. The text is spare, but there’s still plenty of drama! mystery! danger! And best of all: a good guy whose reward is helping others. (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2–5 years)

berger_finding springWinter is coming, and it’s time to hibernate, but a little bear named Maurice is wide-awake; he can only think about experiencing his first spring. When his mother falls asleep, he decides to set out in search of it. Maurice’s journey, in Finding Spring, introduces him to many creatures preparing for winter. When he sees the first snowflakes fall, he thinks they might be spring, and the enthusiasm builds until a page-turn reveals a breathtaking dark and snowy winter landscape. Carin Berger’s three-dimensional collage illustrations featuring scraps of fabric, catalogs, typewritten letters, etc., are done in rich colors that evoke the beauty of the changing seasons. (Greenwillow, 2–5 years)

mccarty_first snowIn Peter McCarty’s First Snow, Pedro, visiting from warmer climes, is skeptical about snow. “I don’t think I will like it…Because it is cold. And I don’t like cold.” But it just takes one group sled-run down the hill with cousins Sancho, Bella, Lola, Ava, and Maria to produce an enthusiastic convert. McCarty’s straightforward sensory descriptions of snow will resonate with curious readers just as much as his earnest advice for how to approach this new experience, which balances empathy for Pedro’s reluctance with gentle encouragement to try new things. Adorable animal characters face outward on the page in theatrical tableaux set against generous white space. (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 3–7 years)

rocco_blizzardJohn Rocco’s Blizzard is based on the author’s childhood experience of New England’s blizzard of 1978. When his family’s food supplies run low, ten-year-old John fashions snowshoes out of tennis rackets and sets off for the grocery store a mile away. Digitally colored watercolor and pencil illustrations are suffused with cool blues and whites, bringing that wintry feeling to the fore. Readers in all climates will be intrigued by this true story of extreme weather and an intrepid kid saving the day. (Disney-Hyperion, 4–8 years)

From the January 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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