Monday, March 15, 2010

The Snow Day

Sakai, Komako. 2009. THE SNOW DAY. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545013215 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

One day a little rabbit wakes to learn that snow has caused school to be canceled. In many snow day books, this news would be followed by exuberant cheers and the mad rush to go outside and play. This is not that book. In THE SNOW DAY, author Sakai takes a quiet and contemplative look at the things that don’t happen. The little rabbit’s father can’t get home from the airport; the mother can’t go to the grocery store; he can’t go outside and play until the snow stops. Instead the little bunny and his mother watch the snow, play cards and wait. There is a hush that surrounds the text and is carried over into the art.

Dark, muted, colors are occasionally relieved by pops of red and yellow. The illustrations have a textured look, done in heavy pencil followed by layers of brushed paint. The page space is used differently, with indoor scenes done in smaller, tighter oval frames, while the outdoor scenes expand fully to the double page spread. The mother and child’s emotion are displayed through their expressive ears; up with excitement, or downwardly contemplative. But even in this quiet, subtle book, snow is magic.

Because this book appears to be set in another county and culture, the little bunny makes “snow dumplings” and “snow monsters.” What do your children make? Did they notice this? Why? What do you imagine are made in other countries, or even in our own?

Other magical snow books:
Keats, Ezra Jack. THE SNOWY DAY. ISBN 9780670654000
Rohmann, Eric. A KITTEN TALE. ISBN 9780517709160
Rylant, Cynthia. SNOW. ISBN 9780152053031

By Marianne Follis

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