A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
DECEMBER 12:

  • Happy birthday, Barbara Emberley (Drummer Hoff).
  • It’s the birth date of Ben Lucien Burman (1896–1984), Catfish Bend series.
  • In 1982, thirty thousand women hold hands and form a human chain around the nine-mile-perimeter fence at a Royal Air Force base, Greenham Commons, in Berkshire, England, to protest nuclear weapons. Read The Fight for Peace by Ted Gottfried.
  • It’s Poinsettia Day. Read The Miracle of the First Poinsettia by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Fabian Negrin, The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaolo, and Poinsettia & Her Family by Felicia Bond.

In some areas of the country, the first snowfall comes in October, but depending on where you are, you may still be waiting for the first snow of the season. I recently watched my young Bernese mountain dog, Lancelot, run around in ecstasy as he experienced an early snowfall; of course, it reminded me of how a child loves snow.

In Snow, Caldecott winner Uri Shulevitz captures that childlike delight in even one snowflake. Upon seeing it, both a boy and his dog begin celebrating. The adults—grandfathers, men, women—of the community remain a bit more dismissive and say that the snow will melt. But our hero keeps counting snowflakes with glee. Radio and TV tell everyone there will be no snow—but snow doesn’t listen to radio or watch TV. And so the snow keeps coming, floating through the air, delighting the boy and dog, and bringing the characters in the store window of Mother Goose Books out to dance and prance in the white world. The lyrical text ends simply with the words, “‘Snow,’ said the boy.”

For several decades Shulevitz has demonstrated a mastery of the picture-book format. In fact, his book Writing with Pictures remains the best book published for illustrators or those wanting to understand the picture-book form. Snow showcases his talents perfectly; he sets scenes, creates characters through action, utilizes every part of a double-page spread, and keeps readers turning the pages. In a Shulevitz picture book, less is more. Every page has been stripped down to its essential elements. Winner of a Caldecott Honor, Snow, from the title page to the final moment, reminds us just how great a classic picture book can be when it has been executed by a master.

But given all his talent, Uri Shulevitz may well be the most humble member of the children’s book community. When he won the Caldecott Medal in 1970 for The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, Shulevitz had not been sitting by the phone, waiting for “the call” as many authors and illustrators have over the years. A habitual night owl who usually slept late, Shulevitz had actually gotten up early the morning of the announcement. But when his editor called and said, “Congratulations,” he believed she was praising him for being an early riser that day.

Well, I don’t know if Uri has risen early this morning. But I do send thanks and congratulations for Snow and for all of his great books. Although an artistic genius, he always remains true to the spirit of childhood.

Here’s a page from Snow:

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Originally posted December 12, 2010. Updated for .

Tags: Award Winning, Caldecott, Seasons, Winter
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COMMENTS

  1. G.Perry says:

    I’ve seen this book in the book stores but just read it because it was reviewed here.

    I love the art and the simplicity of the text, but the art is fantastic.

  2. G. Perry says:

    I love this book all over again this year!

  3. Anita says:

    Gordon: Thanks for posting about it — two times!

  4. suzi w. says:

    As a snow lover, this book just…well, it’s magical. Thank you for the work you do here.

    xo,
    Suzi W.

  5. G. Perry says:

    Third time is charm.

    I love it all over again. And now, again.

    Grin.

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