Jackie's Reviews > The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
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Apr 15, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, for-school, childrens, picture-books, poc, caldecott
Read on April 04, 2011

Keats’ Caldecott Award-winning picture book, following a young boy as he explores the snowy wonderland of his neighborhood after a heavy storm, is as delightful to children today as it was upon its publication in 1963. Peter wakes up in a room full of bold colors and subtle textures, running off to see the snow after he puts on his distinctive red snowsuit. Peter’s exploration is described through short, clear sentences, with onomatopoeia and repeated phrases keeping interest high. The eye-catching illustrations, a mix of painting and collage, add a hint of fantasy to Peter’s everyday adventures; the snowdrifts are impossibly high, and the sky almost resembles a sinister Aurora Borealis when Peter is caught in a snowball fight. Peter finally returns home to his mother and a warm bath, leaving him refreshed for tomorrow’s adventures with a neighbor in the fresh snow.

Worth noting is Peter’s race: he and his mother are both African-American. Nothing in the text points to a particular race and ethnicity, and Keats’ decision not to default to a white protagonist is laudable. Peter is instantly relatable to any child that has played in the snow or wished he or she could. The straightforward plot is likely to appeal to children age 3-6, as will the simple, colorful illustrations. Besides the brief tension of the snowball fight, Peter’s adventures are entirely positive and non-threatening: he’s simply having fun playing. The security of Peter’s waiting mother offsets any anxiety children might have about him exploring on his own, allowing them to share the pure joy of his experiences. The enduring appeal of The Snowy Day’s text and illustrations makes it a solid choice for preschool- and kindergarten-age children, particularly those experiencing the first snowfall where they can go out and play.

(Review copied and pasted from a Booklist-style review I wrote for my Resources for Children class)
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