Uri Shulevitz's Snow
Children's book review by Sarah Denslow
A children's book about snow transforming a town
In three words, Uri Shulevitz’s Caldecott winning Snow is weird but cool. The illustrations, as well as the diction, are unusual, but wonderful in their own way.
Snow is the story of a gray town being transformed by snow. It starts with one snowflake, then two, then three. Only “boy with dog” realizes that this is the beginning of something much bigger – in short, that it’s snowing.
Of course, the grownups don’t believe him, offering up their glooming opinions – it won’t last, it’ll melt – but “boy” and “dog” know better.
After all, “snow doesn’t listen to the radio” and “snow doesn’t watch TV”. Nature follows its own path regardless of the grownups; soon the rooftops become lighter and lighter, until the whole town is white. Snow!
Shulevitz creates something truly unique in this book. Using very few words, he conveys the magic of a snowfall – and subtly encourages children to believe in themselves.
Rather unusually, Shulevitz leaves out the word “the” in referring to the people in Snow. Our protagonist is not “the boy with the dog”, but rather “boy with dog”. While I like the idea of cutting down on the words in a picture book, I personally find it too difficult to read aloud without putting the articles back in. Of course, this may have to do with the fact that I read it in circle time with the book facing away from me…
Definite articles or not, Snow captures the imagination of children. While I may not be able to see the words completely clearly in circle, I can see the kids' eyes widen with excitement as more and more snowflakes fall. In short, Uri Shulevitz's Snow is a wonderful book to read curled up under a blanket with your child, because the magic of this book just might give you chills.
Webmaster's note: Interested in more work by Uri Shulevitz? Read our review of How I Learned Geography.
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