Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Five Favorite Picture Books About Winter

Today, in response to Blog All About It's January prompt of Winter, I'm sharing five of my all-time favorite wintry picture books.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

Owl Moon is not just one of my favorite winter picture books; I think it one of the most perfect picture books ever written. It's a quiet story, which at first glance seems like it might not engage most kids, but I have read this book to preschoolers and preteens alike and it always bring an awestruck hush to even the most active and easily distracted audience. The story is very simple: a young girl and her dad walk in the woods looking for an owl. The descriptions of this special event, however, combined with Schoenherr's Caldecott-winning illustrations, draw readers into the story, making them practically feel the cold air on their own faces, giving them the same feelings of excitement that the little girl experiences. The audiobook and Weston Woods video adaptation of the story are also excellent. The author is the narrator of both.

It's Snowing by Olivier Dunrea

In this sweet picture book by the creator of the Gossie books, a mother and baby wrapped in furs step out of their arctic home to enjoy the child's first snowstorm on a "dark, dark, cold, cold night." The mother jubilantly encourages the baby to experience the snow with his senses, and to enjoy such activities as building a snow troll, sledding down a hill, and riding on an ice bear. When the baby gets sleepy, his mother brings him back inside their cozy home and tucks him into bed.  I am not really a winter person myself, but this book makes me understand how it might feel to love snow as much as the family in the story. We don't yet own this book (and the copy on OpenLibrary was scanned incorrectly), but it is at the top of my wish list.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Susan Jeffers lends her signature illustration style to this famous Robert Frost poem adapted for the picture book format. The speaker of the poem bears a resemblance to Santa Claus as he, his horse, and a sleigh full of packages make their way through the snowy woods. My favorite illustration shows this character cheerily dropping down into the snow to make a snow angel while birds and other small animals flee in surprise. Jeffers makes great use of color to highlight people and animals in the pictures while everything else remains covered in blankets of white and gray snow. She really captures the mood of Frost's original words.

Something is Going to Happen by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Catherine Stock

This gentle book takes place in the morning as a family of four - mother, father, son, and daughter - and their dog wake up to begin the day. Each one has the sense that something is about to happen, but they go about the business of getting dressed, having breakfast, and packing up for work and school before opening the door to discover that it's snowing. There is a great sense of anticipation in this book that reminds me of lying in bed as a kid waiting to hear whether school would be canceled for a snow day. The imagery throughout the book is really beautiful - Zolotow had such a talent for describing ordinary moments in extraordinary ways.

Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

In this book, a cold snap has reached the town of Toby Mills, and as the icicle on the statue of the town's founder grows longer and longer, the temperature drops closer and closer to zero. As the cold weather continues throughout the week, the reader is given little peeks into the lives of certain town residents, watching as they prevent illness, knit mittens, drink hot chocolate, and attend a community bonfire. We had about a week this month already where temperatures were in the single digits and wind chills were in the negatives. Reading this book was a fun way to teach my kids about the extreme cold we were experiencing and it kept us all busy while we were stuck inside.

Have you read these books? Which other winter picture books do you love?


  1. Hi!
    I am a new follower of your blog. I found your blog though Hamlette's blog, The Edge of Precipice.

    I'm glad I found your blog because I appreciate hearing about new books. Based on your review, I decided I wanted to read "Owl Moon" and "Cold Snap." I found the books at my library, and now I can't wait to read them!

  2. Wow, such cool books. I love winter if I don't have to be in the middle of it and as long as the temps don't get single digits!

  3. I'm not familiar with any of them, but I love the premise of Cold Snap. May have to look into that for my therapy groups.

    Visiting from linkup.

  4. Cold Snap and It's Snowing look so cute.

  5. I think the only Winter themed picture books I ever read with my son were The Gruffalo's Child and Stick Man.

  6. Oh my goodness...they are all cute!

  7. I have read Robert Frost.
    Great selection of winter books!

  8. What a great post! I am always on the lookout for good children's books and all of these look like fun. I especially want to check out Owl Moon. Oh, and my favorite Robert Frost poem in book form! I will have to look for that one. I learned the poem by song, actually, singing it with a choir as a teenager.

  9. Oh It's Snowing sounds really cute. My mom would love that one, I think. Thanks for the info!

    Thanks for joining in on the prompt challenge!