In honor of the giant snowstorm we’re experiencing in Indiana right now, I give you a review of a classic: The Snowy Day.
Book: The Snowy Day
Author: Ezra Jack Keats.
Overview: This children’s book tells the story of a Black boy named Peter and his activities in the snow.
Morals or lessons: The mundane things can be beautiful.
Age range: toddlers and up.
Young children are likely to find the pictures enjoyable and the cadance soothing. Because of the accessible vocabulary, new readers might also enjoy reading the book aloud. And this book might carry with it some nostalgia for parents and grandparents.
Format: one story.
Visual/reading ease: high.
This book’s illustrations are minimalistic but very relatable for anyone who has enjoyed a snowy day. And, as I noted, the vocabulary is easy to work through.
Biggest pro: the story is timeless.
This is a classic first published in 1962 and still selling and being read today. The enchanting promise of new snow, the sadness of its temporality, and then the excitement when it comes again is something that resonates for lots of children (who love snow) and adults (as they contemplate their own mortality). But don’t worry, it’s a cute story!
Biggest con: there’s loss here that isn’t discussed.
I remember as a kid not liking this book because of a part where Peter’s snowball melts away. And while the narrator jumps over this, it bothered me, as did the ending where snow comes again (and I critically thought, “But one day, snow doesn’t come again.”). So, for the realist, this book could be a good starting place to talk about sadness and loss.
Fun factor: more hygge than fun.
Hygge (the Danish word for comfort and togetherness) is a guiding principle of my family’s life, and it definitely appears in this book. There’s no crazy plot or unbelievable twists and turns here; there’s a little boy who plays in the snow. The familiarity is comforting and relatable.
How much heart: lots of the everyday kind of heart.
Peter’s snow activities make this the perfect book to read when you’re snowed in, or after you celebrate a day of being outside doing the same activities he did!
The fact that this book has been reprinted and translated and reread so many times is a testament to the wide appeal of its hygge.