Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My New Favorite Snow Book

There's not much more to say about snow, is there?  It's white, it's wet, it's cold.  Kids sled, build snowmen, throw snowballs.  You know the drill.

But the difference lies in how it is said, and, more importantly here, how it is shown.

Into the Snow is a beautiful, playful book. Using colors that look like they come straight out of the Crayola box (one of the smaller sets, not the 64-crayon one!), with a texture that almost looks like rubbings (it turns out that the artist used oil pastels, gouache, acrylic colors and colored pencils), illustrator Masamitsu Saito perfectly captures a child's playfulness, fear, wonder, and exhaustion in a style all his own.  From the cover, on which our nameless child narrator mischievously pulls his hat down over his eyes, throughout the story as he works hard to pull his sled up the hill, and until he has had enough and goes back inside for the warm, cozy comfort of a cup of hot chocolate with mama, Saito renders each moment with warmth (or coldness, as the case may be!).

Author Yuki Kaneko's language is simple but vivid: "I've found an icicle.  It is shiny and clear like glass." and, at times, whimsical: "Oops, I snapped it.  I hope I didn't upset an ice fairy."

This book does the impossible: it makes playing in the snow fresh and new again.

A lovely book for toddlers and preschoolers - and their parents.

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