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Review of Snow Scene

Snow Scene
by Richard Jackson; illus. by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Preschool    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp.
11/17    978-1-62672-680-2    $17.99

At first glance, this is the simplest of books for very young children. Short questions, many just two or three words long, are posed, with answers provided by turning the page. The art often gives hints (on the far right of each double-page spread) of what is to come, revealed after the page-turn, and the rhyming text sets up patterns to help with those predictions. “What are these?” [page-turn] “Trees. And those?” [page-turn] “Shadows. Of crows.” Portions of Seeger’s paintings are thick with impasto paint, while other areas are scraped or rubbed down to show the canvas and underpainting, alternately hiding and revealing. Two children appear throughout the book, first in a winter forest of birch trees, then a snowy field, then rolling hills. Eventually, the snow melts and the season changes to spring, summer, and finally fall. The entire book appears to be painted as if it were one long panorama spanning not just space but time. In the final spread, the children look at a distant mountain capped with snow. The text reads, “And will you look at that?” / “Winter’s hat!” So yes, it really is one continuous scene that begins and ends with snow. Clever! On one nighttime spread, the black text is a bit difficult to see on the dark background. But that’s a small glitch within a book that should keep children thinking and noticing long after the initial guessing game has been completed.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.

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