Snow by Uri Shulevitz (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998)

I forget where I heard about this book, which made the Caldecott Honor list in 1999, but it seemed like a pleasing winter-time picture book, perhaps especially given our not-very-snowy-yet winter this year: we had an early slushy snow Halloween weekend, but haven’t had any since. Snow is set in a gray-skied town with a big central square and a crooked skyline of narrow houses with leaning chimneys. The town has at least two bookshops (Mother Goose Books and More Books), and it is winter in the town: winter, and it’s going to snow. The radio says it’s not going to snow, and the television says it’s not going to snow, but one little boy with a dog sees the first flake and is sure it’ll turn into something that sticks. All the grown-ups disagree, as grown-ups do (“It’s nothing,” or “It’ll melt”), but the boy, frolicking in the square with his dog long after the grown-ups have gone inside, is right: snow!

Snow by Uri Shulevitz - book cover
(cover image courtesy of the Macmillan website, which also has a few interior pages for you to look at)

The illustrations in this book are what I like best about it: those higgledy-piggledy houses, the varying grays and blue-grays of the watercolor skies, and of course the snowflakes themselves, dotting the sky like stars and then like more than stars, in more places than just the sky. “All snowflakes know is snow, and snow, and snow,” the text says at one point, and there it is, the logic of winter, snow piling on the ground and on grown-ups’ hats and coats, snow transforming the town into something magic.






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