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The Snowman

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Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have "the hazy softness of air in snow." A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published November 12, 1978

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About the author

Raymond Briggs

161 books207 followers
Raymond Redvers Briggs was an English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist, and author who had achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He was best known for his story "The Snowman", which is shown every Christmas on British television in cartoon form and on the stage as a musical.

His first three major works, Father Christmas, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featuring a curmudgeonly Father Christmas who complains incessantly about the "blooming snow"), and Fungus the Bogeyman, were in the form of comics rather than the typical children's-book format of separate text and illustrations. The Snowman (1978) was entirely wordless, and illustrated with only pencil crayons. The Snowman became Briggs' best-known work when in 1982 it was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon, that has been shown every year since on British television.

Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in Gentleman Jim (1980), a sombre look at the working class trials of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, closely based on his parents. When the Wind Blows (1982) confronted the trusting, optimistic Bloggs couple with the horror of nuclear war, and was praised in the British House of Commons for its timeliness and originality. The topic was inspired after Briggs watched a Panorama documentary on nuclear contingency planning, and the dense format of the page was inspired by a Swiss publisher's miniature version of Father Christmas. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft. The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.

He was recognized as The Children's Author of the Year in 1993 by the British Book Awards. His graphic novel Ethel and Ernest, which portrayed his parents' 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards.

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5 stars
9,742 (52%)
4 stars
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3 stars
2,889 (15%)
2 stars
708 (3%)
1 star
308 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 805 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
December 21, 2022
RIP, Raymond Briggs, 8/9/22. Thanks for writing this book, Raymond, and making us so much better for it.

On the verge of an old-fashioned snowstorm tomorrow in the midwest. . .

A wordless masterpiece, which I experienced first through a silent film (wordless, with lovely music), with this original introduction. If you are the least down today, see this now:


But I have the book right here, too. It's the story of a boy who builds a snowman that comes alive and takes him soaring through the countryside night air. I must have read and seen this first in 1996, when Sammy was born. This is one of the virtues of getting older and rereading favorite picture books, reliving those memories.

The musical score is gorgeous.

We are the verge of a very old-fashioned blizzard here in Chicago, in much of the country, piles of the stuff, snow on snow on snow, as they say, as I read the book and as the film rolls and the music play.

Time for hot chocolate?

There's a David Bowie-introduced version, too, very sweet.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews737 followers
December 9, 2017
One winter's night, a snowman comes to life and a magical adventure begins....

A 'feel-good' Christmas story. It has been on my shelves for almost a year, waiting for Xmas time. A bit early, but I decided I could use this 'sidestep' from busy work and studies. Drawings are cute and beautiful. 'Narrated entirely through pictures, its dreamlike illustrations perfectly capture the wonder and innocence of childhood'.
I liked it, took my thoughts away from 'brand management' and 'customer marketing';-)
Looking forward to Christmas, only a few weeks to go!
Cute picture book!
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
May 31, 2017
To see this week's wordless picture books please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a wonderful wordless book for children. The story starts with a young boy who sees the snow outside and rushes out of his home to build a snowman. As the boy sleeps, the snowman comes alive and is welcomed into the boy’s home to discover what it’s like inside. In return, the snowman will show him his home as well. A dream to be remembered forever.

This book is packed full of sketched illustrations in color. This is a beautiful Christmas book that can be read by all ages and any time of the year.

Profile Image for Hilary .
2,264 reviews406 followers
December 27, 2022
A wonderful story of a boy building a snowman and a magical night time adventure. The book is wonderful and the animation is amazing. We watched this again on Christmas day and was even enjoyed by the two teenagers of the family. It's hard to believe it's the same animation I watched as a child. This is a Christmas classic in our house.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,207 reviews1,330 followers
September 28, 2021
One of my earliest Christmas memories is watching The Snowman, without fail I make sure to watch it every year.

Everyone knows the story of a young boy building a snowman only to find him come alive during the night.
What surprised me was how the film had a whole different third act that added more christmassy element.

I think the reason why I've always been fascinated by this tale is the sight of the pair flying over my hometown.
The illustrations are so beautiful and convey the sense of wonder and adventure between the two perfectly, seeing them flying over Brighton's Royal Pavilion is just stunning.

Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
May 6, 2015
This was a beautiful, gentle story that translated into a magnificent cartoon with music but without words that airs on tv every Christmas in the UK. This book was a real sea change for Briggs whose previous cartoon books include a doleful biography of his parents to their death, nuclear war and creatures that love boogers - much more dark humour than this magical tale of the snowman.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,077 reviews31.3k followers
November 30, 2018
A wordless beginner book that tells a magical story of a boy and his snowman. My Nephew loves this story and it might be why he still loves snowmen so much. The pair of the boy and snowman share a magical evening together exploring the world and flying through the night. It must have been a really warm day because that snowman melted away really really fast.

It is told in panels like a comic so I think this story was ahead of its time. I can't believe I've never read this before. My Nephew gave this 5 stars and my Niece gave it 3 stars. It's a lovely gentle book.
Profile Image for Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont.
113 reviews648 followers
November 30, 2012
Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On

This is not a review. How can one review a book like The Snowman, a story without words? It has to be experienced, that’s all, experienced through the eyes of a child. What follows is my own experience, my appreciation of a story that gave me so much pleasure over so many years.

There are stories and experiences from childhood that we all recall with some fondness. Even if we do not bring them to mind they are in our hearts, a warm glow that never dies. It is the things we learn and love in innocence that have the greatest resonance.

I was reminded recently of Heidi, a book for children and those who love children by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. I was particularly fond of the story of Heidi and her grandfather because I had a very close relationship with my own grandfather, my father’s father, with whom I used to stay when my parents were away on lengthy business trips. It was my grandfather who introduced me to the Snowman.

I don’t remember when exactly. I must have been, oh, about four years old. It was before I went to school anyway. It was near Christmas, that much I do remember. The Snowman in question is a story book, pictures without words by Raymond Briggs, another book for children and those who love children. Like Heidi it tells of a bond, this time between a little boy and the snowman he builds one wintry afternoon in his garden. By magic it comes to life; by magic the boy and the snowman fly.

It was made into an animated film by Channel 4, one of our terrestrial television companies, with a sublime score by Howard Blake. When I was growing up it was broadcast every Christmas; perhaps it still is. With us watching it became an annual event. The holiday simply would not have been the same without it, as if there was no Christmas tree, no lights and no watch night service in church.

By far the best bit is the flying sequence. In the animation it is accompanied by Walking in the Air, a song that still makes me teary with nostalgia;

We're walking in the air
We're floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly

I'm holding very tight
I'm riding in the midnight blue
I'm finding I can fly so high above with you

Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills, the forests and the streams

Children gaze open mouthed
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes their eyes

We're surfing in the air
We're swimming in the frozen sky
We're drifting over icy mountains floating by

Suddenly swooping low
On an ocean deep
Rousing up a mighty monster from his sleep

And walking in the air
We're dancing in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly

We're walking in the air
We're walking in the air.

There was one Christmas – I was now about six I think – we spent in our family cottage in the north of Scotland, a really remote spot in Easter Ross. It snowed, heavily. I built my own snowman in the garden with a little help from father. It was as big as me, that I remember clearly, with an old hat on his head and a scarf around his neck.

I waited and waited for him to come to life. I so wanted to fly like the boy, to go to the North Pole and dance with Father Christmas and all of the other snowmen. I didn’t and I did. My snowman remained frozen in the garden, mute and unmoved. But he came alive in my dreams that night. And – who knows? –maybe dreams are just a gate to another reality, a world where everything is possible and nothing denied. It was for me. The Snowman was the gateway.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,213 reviews104 followers
April 23, 2022
Yes I know and more than well do realise that Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is considered by most to be a modern children’s classic (and probably one of the first really universally popular wordless picture books). But while I do in fact find The Snowman somewhat and mildly amusing, both Briggs’ picture sequences and the resulting wordless storyline have also never in any way managed to wow, to truly and lastingly enchant me. For to my eyes and according to my aesthetics, the illustrations of The Snowman, they actually seem mostly rather vague and washed-out in appearance (and as such lacking in both expression and boldness of style) and the story sequence itself for The Snowman, while definitely fun and imaginative, has equally always seemed just a bit too outrageous and unbelievable, at least for my personal tastes. And in fact, to and for me, Raymond Briggs’ eponymous snowman does not really even appear to be a bona fide snowman at all anymore once he enters into the little boy's house or later, when he and the boy take to the air (as I have always thought him more akin to a man clad in a snowman suit than a bona fide magical snow entity).

And while I personally have never been all that much bothered regarding the ending of The Snowman, I can certainly see how a very sensitive child might indeed be negatively affected and much saddened by the snowman in effect dying, by him just melting away and the little boy being heartbroken (therefore parents, caregivers etc. should, need to be vigilant and prepared to discuss this if the snowman's demise appears to actually bother readers or listeners). But that all being said, The Snowman is still a clever and generally enchanting enough tale, and one that could perhaps also be a fun and usuable tool for individual storytelling, discussions and the like (for example, in a first, second or third grade language arts classroom, teachers might consider using the illustrations for writing assignments, even for oral presentations). But on a personal level, The Snowman ranks but two stars for me, and once again makes me realise that Rayond Briggs is simply and usually just not my proverbial cup of tea.
Profile Image for Raha.
186 reviews185 followers
August 12, 2017
Truly beautiful wordless picture book.the story is about a little boy who builds a snowman which comes to live during the night.they spend a night together playing and having fun, then the snowman takes the boy on a magical journey to see the world...
I really enjoyed this book and would strongly recommend it to everyone.
Profile Image for Jim Erekson.
602 reviews33 followers
May 5, 2016
I always really liked this book (so I should have voted 4 stars), but this past winter my 13-year-old son Alma (Down Syndrome, autism) fell in love with it. He reads it daily, and wants me to read it with him sometimes. He loves that we can pull out the video or turn the soundtrack on on Spotify. When I watch him, he adores the pages drawn comic-style, with 16 boxes of sequential art per page. But then the next day he'll be poring over one of the wide spreads with just one drawing! So now I love this book. Yes, I wish Alma could talk, but a wordless picture book is such a good match that I'm grateful for a genre that 'speaks' to my boy.
Profile Image for Shainlock.
753 reviews
December 15, 2018
I could never forget the form or face of this snowman from when I was little. I remember building one so similar when it actually snowed something like several feet and my sister and I were staying with Nana and Papa. Ours was shaped similarly but she was more like a female companion. This was one of the only snowmen then and now that don’t tick me off.

I saw him on someone’s feed and got a warm feeling and said, “Oh, I remember you..”
Profile Image for Moira Macfarlane.
629 reviews67 followers
March 19, 2023
Zo stil als sneeuw.

'I remember that winter because it had brought the heaviest snow I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence, the whole world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day… and it was on that day I made The Snowman.'

Just over forty years ago Raymond Briggs used a pot of colour pencils to create his wordless winter classic The Snowman. I loved this sweetly drawn memory, one that brings back own cherished childhood memories of that magical moment of the very first snow. Once the snowman and little Raymond fly off in the midnight sky floating above the English countryside, I couldn't help feeling this light shiver down my spine... such magic.

Voor een inkijkje: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYHIh15IU3E/
Profile Image for kian.
198 reviews51 followers
April 2, 2016
خب... چند دقيقه بيشتر طول نكشيد كه خوندمش.... يعني كتاب مصور بود و با چشم، خوندمش...... ولي اثر لذت بخش و خوبي داشت كه برام مي مونه...... عاشق كتاباي فانتزي و تخيلي و كتابهاي كودكانم...... يك جور خيلي عجيب و غريبي كه براي خودم هم سواله چرا و اين همه علاقه به اين حيطه از كجا اومده.؟
Profile Image for Laura.
724 reviews106 followers
July 21, 2016
It's difficult to review a book of which there are no words, and instead the story is told through a series of beautiful illustrations. I remember being captured by the magical world of The Snowman, and equally impressed by the tv adaption. For younger children, the tv version is perhaps more suited until they are old enough to appreciate the beauty of the wordless story.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
January 21, 2009
One of the great love stories. David spends a magical night with the Snowman; the next morning, he has melted. He'd think it was a dream, except that he still has the scarf in his pocket.

No words, they'd only complicate things.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
December 14, 2018
English artist and picture-book creator Raymond Briggs, whose comic-book tale of a grouchy Father Christmas won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1973, utilized the same style (sans words) in this story of a boy and his snowman, first published in 1978. Rushing outside one wintry day, the boy slowly builds a snowman beneath his window, but finds that, once it's time to come back inside, he can't take his mind off his creation. Waking up in the middle of the night, he discovers that the snowman has come to life, and the two have a magical series of adventures together, exploring all the wonders of the boy's house, and then flying through the night sky.

This classic picture-book was made into an animated film in 1982 - apparently The Snowman is shown annually on British TV, during the Christmas season - and is a childhood favorite for many readers. I myself never encountered it as a girl, but having recently stumbled across Father Christmas on my library's holiday display, which I greatly enjoyed, I thought I would track down this other winter story from the same author/artist. I'm glad that I did! The artwork is just lovely, capturing the warmth of the boy's home, and the chilly fun of the outdoor world perfectly. No text is really needed, because the illustrations do such an excellent job spinning the story. There is a melancholy quality to the conclusion here, but then, it's an ending that will come to all snowmen, so it feels appropriate. All in all, another outstanding picture-book from Raymond Briggs! I'll have to see which of his other titles the library has...
Profile Image for Kirk.
Author 40 books221 followers
January 25, 2008
I used to read this book to my son, who recently turned 21. I came across a copy recently and was reminded of just how devastatingly beautiful the story is. I'm no artist, but it looks like it was done in colored pencil, which gives the snow and sky a surreal, dreamy texture. The real innovation is the wordlessness. I remember how my son and I used to just look at the pictures without talking, like we intuitively (telepathically maybe?) understood the story. He was a big fan of the video, too, except the ending always made him cry. Made me cry, too, but that's my little secret, I suppose.
Profile Image for Shirley Revill.
1,197 reviews248 followers
November 10, 2017
This has to be one of my favourite children's books of all time.
The book has no words but is a story told with pictures.
The artwork is beautiful and really catches a child's attention.
A very special book. Recommended.
Profile Image for Sandra Deaconu.
686 reviews104 followers
December 15, 2020
Ce poveste frumoasă despre inocență și puterea imaginației! Când ceva important pentru tine dispare, nu e niciodată ca și cum nu ar fi existat. De văzut neapărat și filmul.
Profile Image for Simona.
335 reviews806 followers
October 13, 2019
Rating: 5+/5 || Recenzia pe Secretele Simonei

carte roman grafic omul de zapada raymond briggs editura arthur

Ninge iar
Cu toate că suntem în luna lui aprilie, se pare că aerul polar și vremea schimbătoare nu ne păsuiesc. Am avut parte de frig și ninsoare în aceste zile așa că am decis să mă cuibăresc cu o carte frumoasă alături. Omul de zăpadă este un roman grafic despre care am auzit extrem de multe lucruri bune așa că am decis să pornesc și eu lectura acestei mici aventuri.

Am făcut cunoștință cu un mic băiețel care devine extrem de entuziasmat de fulgii de zăpadă de afară așa că iese grăbit și se apucă să facă un om de zăpadă. Fericit, el merge la culcare, dar gândul îi este tot la prietenul său. Se trezește în miez de noapte și iese afară la omul de zăpadă care prinde viață din senin.

Acela este momentul în care începe o minunată prietrenie între băiat și omul de zăpadă. Cei doi petrec niște clipe de neuitat, fiecare prezentându-și lumea din care face parte.

carte roman grafic omul de zapada raymond briggs editura arthur

Zborul printre fulgi cu omul de zăpadă
M-am amuzat de momentele când omul de zăpadă se îmbracă cu hainele părinților băiețelului și am privit cu mare drag fiecare ilustrație realizată de Raymond Briggs. Mi s-a părut minunat stilul autorului și m-a ajutat să călătoresc în timp și să plutesc printre fulgii de nea alături de omul de zăpadă.

O poveste înduioșătoare dedicată în special copiilor care poate fi citită în orice anotimp, Omul de zăpadă este acea carte care pune accent pe copilărie într-un mod cu totul aparte. Finalul este cel care îți întristează sufletul însă nu poți rămâne trist când știi prin ce clipe magice ai trecut alături de prieteni dragi!

carte roman grafic omul de zapada raymond briggs editura arthur

carte roman grafic omul de zapada raymond briggs editura arthur
Profile Image for Matthew.
501 reviews17 followers
April 20, 2016
To check out all my reviews: http://dancinginth3dark.blogspot.com

In the last few days I have been trying to get into the christmas festival mood because so far it doesn't feel like the christmas season. We have had terrorist attacks weeks ago, politicians who seem to approve the destruction of our government, and the nonsense that is surrounding our environment in this day and age. I am on major social media yet at the same time I am barely on it merely just to keep tabs on what is going on in the world. I am mostly on Goodreads because nothing is political unless it is a book, my friends who I consider Goodreads family are wonderful individuals inside and out, and I truly treasure them and books.

With the gloom that is trying to surround me, I am using books and other forms of media to entertain myself and for a brief moment I forget the troubles that are happening inside and out of my life. When I picked this book I already knew I was going to love it because I have read a graphic novel by Raymond Briggs and was intrigue by the contents of the story and using drawings to illustrate a person's life.

This book has no words which was a surprise but it doesn't ruin the story. I believe Raymond Briggs used to this tactic to make sure everyone from all ages both young and old can appreciate it and discover that you do not need words to tell a story. This was such a wonderful book that allowed me to have different emotions both of pure happiness and hope and yet I wanted to cry at the end of it all. I am not going to give spoilers away but I highly recommend everyone to pick up this book and read it to yourself, your children, and your loved ones.

It deals with a boy who witness that winter has finally arrive since the whole backyard is cover in snow. He decides to spend the day outside and he builds a snowman and use different materials that he discovers. Immediately you can see that the Snowman has come alive but we don't see any action until the next day when the boy opens the door and witness the Snowman turning around. Through the course of the story we get to see a beautiful bond between the Snowman and the boy.

The illustrations are simple with plenty of colors which personally for me I felt like I had time traveled to a simpler time where smart phones didn't clog our day-to-day activities and we got to the innocence and pure joy of a child during christmas time. They adapted this story into a television special which I haven't seen but I can sure imagine how impactful it can be towards the imagination of a child.

While this book didn't necessarily put me in the holiday spirit it nonetheless became the foundation for what is to come in the next couple days leading up to Christmas. Thank you so much Raymond Briggs for creating this classic children story.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,347 reviews
December 5, 2014
I was very curious to finally read Raymond Brigg's The Snowman as I know it's something of a classic, and the cover looks familiar so it's possible I was read this story as a child, though I did not remember it. I have never seen the film, though I have heard the song "Walking in the Air" (and never knew that's where it came from!)

So, I really enjoyed the story, overall. I love the sense of joy and wonder that glows from the page, first with the boy's creativity in building his snowman and then the shared delight as the boy and the snowman each discover the "magic" in one another's worlds. When the snowman makes discoveries around the boy's house it reminded me so much of my son and how even the littlest things (turning on a light switch, discovering the chill when the refrigerator door opens) are amazing and thrilling. The illustrations are just so full of expression, such as when the boy simply cannot sleep over wanting to be with his snowman. I must say the last page was a bit of a shock to me (naive, I know! I had forgotten the reason I don't like a certain type of snowman stories, haha!) and did diminish my overall enjoyment of the story but I can see where the author would want that ending and why some people might prefer something realistic like this.

Profile Image for Tisha.
367 reviews908 followers
August 5, 2018
So this would be my second time reading a silent book which is full of colorful sequential artworks. There’s no word written other than the pictures. Even though it wasn’t as detailed as Shaun Tan's The Arrival, I've enjoyed it. The story of a little boy and his snowman was truly heartwarming!
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews82 followers
December 31, 2013
This is a kind of child's dreaming that I can enjoy. A snowman coming to life and learning a little about human life. I like his fascination with light. And I loved the humor of anything related to cold (like getting into the deep freezer!).

Being a wordless book (not good for storytimes!!!) and with the illustrations having a bit of a fuzzy crayon look to them, I may have misread some of the pictures. Was the snowman laughing at the boy's picture and the boy was upset? Why does the boy look mad about the snowman getting near the heating vent--shouldn't he look concerned? Why doesn't the snowman like the flowers picture? Is it because that's in spring and he doesn't ever get to see such a thing. And is he upset or angry about that?

So while I enjoyed the imaginative story and an any-age reader's ability to imagine their own dialogue and such, I'm worried I may have misinterpreted some of what was there. Still I enjoyed the book. Especially with the flying together all over near the end. The ending though? That's TERRIBLE! I mean, predictable and necessary, but can we not have some kind of resolve that the boy is all right?
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,450 reviews1,109 followers
January 30, 2014
Cute pictures. No words at all. The pictures tell the story of a nighttime adventure of a snowman and a boy. I liked the contradiction pictures of what happens with hot vs cold objects but the story itself is found to be boring quickly, even for the kids I 'read' this with. Play some of the things they do in the picture are things kids should not do without a mature adult and I do not feel a curious, naive, uneducated snowman counts. Still the storybook pictures aren't bad for a quick run-through.
Profile Image for Deborah.
759 reviews51 followers
February 14, 2022
One snowy day, a boy not only joyously creates a snowman, but a friend. The snowman is playful and adventurous to the wonder and delight of the patient and protective boy. Through a series of colorful frames this classic picture book from 1978 won many awards. Special and heartwarming reminding us that friendship can be found just outside your front door if you use your imagination.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 805 reviews

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