Keats, Ezra. 1962. THE SNOWY DAY. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 00670654000
b. Ezra Jack Keats Caldecott Award-winning Snowy Day, has the reader following a city boy waking up and playfully experiencing snow. After reading Children's Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide
, I learned that Peter was the first African American protagonist in a picture book. This lovable character tries to save some snowballs and thinks about them through his whole bath. The reader is transported back to a time when we believed we could hold on to a snowball forever. We painfully anticipate the moment he discovers they are gone. The simple text paired with simple drawings make for an delightful and fresh read. I enjoyed the experience of following the little boy through a snow filled day and reveled in his discovery of snow tracks, poking trees to create snow showers, and an avoidance of a snow ball fight with the big kids.
c.This picture book doesn't really express African American culture, but rather the culture of being a kid. Most people can relate to a simple day that we relish for a lifetime. The author plays with text and illustrations when Peter makes tracks "walking with his toes pointing out, like this...like that,” and he finds something new to make a track with. The track appears before the picture of the object and this leads the reader to guessing and interacting with the book. The stark contrast of Peter’s red suit on the white snow followed only by his snow tracks, moves the reader’s eye across the page. The graphic techniques such as cut-outs give it a collage feel, but they are combined with simple drawings to create a simple yet eye-appealing effect. The shapes and color create the playful mood of a child's new discovery. The setting of the city feels generic and could be any urban city, but the book has a 1960s feel because of the art work. However, the plot transcends time implications as a city covered with snow can still be a joyful experience for any urban child.
I was a little disappointed with the breakfast to bedtime storyline, but I was placated with him waking up to a second day of snow to be experienced with a friend.
d. Review Excerpts
This would be a great book to create some interactive play time in the library for kinesthetic learners. Children could be asked to pretend it snowed in the library and they could get up from storytime and “make tracks” and new discoveries in the snow. Afterwards they could tell a friend about all the adventures they discovered in the snow. Or make drawings of the tracks and hang them in the library.
This book could also be used to spark an interest in creating collages with paper. Pre-school to kindergarten age students could be given pre-cut paper or tissue and asked to recreate their favorite scene from the book.