The Snowman

by Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs's The Snowman

Children's book review by Sarah Denslow

Ages 2-6

Wordless picture book about a boy and a snowman

This Raymond Briggs’ classic was one of my favorites as a child. The book has some of the most beautiful illustrations in children’s literature, with soft colors that are reminiscent of a gray, snowy day.

The Snowman is told through pictures only, making it a wonderful book for the pre-reader. The tale is simple: a boy builds a snowman, and that night the snowman comes alive. The boy and the snowman explore the child’s house, playing with balloons and other household items. After eating a meal by candlelight, the pair flies over the town before returning home as the sun rises.

In the morning, the boy wakes and finds the snowman melted. Was the night’s adventure only a dream? The ending is bittersweet, but the story is so beautifully told that it’s difficult to mind a less than perfectly happy ending.

There is also a short animated film version of The Snowman. The film adds a sequence in which the boy and the snowman visit Father Christmas and has consequently become somewhat of a holiday favorite. Both the film and the book are lovely, but it’s worth noting that the book, unlike the film, has no references to Christmas.

This book is one I recommend trying to find the full size version of rather than the board book size. As much as I love board books, they shrink the illustrations, and this book really is entirely about the illustrations.

The Snowman is a beautiful book for children of all ages. Every time I look at it, I am reminded of the magic that playing in the snow has for children.

More picture books about winter.

Read more of Sarah's reviews.

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