Baby, It's Cold Outside Booklist: Our Top Books About Snow

Here in the good ol’ Midwest, we are in snow up to our ears-literally. We’ve had more snow in the last few weeks than the last 3 years COMBINED, so I thought it only appropriate to share a few books about…snow of course! I have to say, I enjoy looking at it and reading about it MUCH more than I enjoy the reality of it! So whether you are one of the people who are lives in the sunshine and warmth and get to appreciate the beauty of snow without any of the highway closing, school shutdown, giant snowdrift hazards, or whether snow is part of your daily life (and you’re not bitter about it like me!), Here’s a few books celebrating winter’s white "gift".



1. Blizzard by John Rocco

2. Snow by Uri Shulevitz

3. The Mitten by Jan Brett

4. Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins




1. Blizzard by John Rocco

Blizzard is based on John Rocco’s real-life experience during the blizzard of 1978 when he was 10 years old. There is an author’s note in the back explaining so, which I really wish had been placed in the beginning. I love the background story and the true history behind it made me enjoy the book a great deal more. It is a simple, lovely, relatable story about a family who gets snowed in and what happens when they are stranded for a week. The adventurous little boy consults his Arctic Survival Guide and braves the weather to gather supplies for his neighborhood. The story is written in a simple, matter-of-fact first person style, which is perfect for the historical story that it is. It gives a nostalgic feel, as though you are sitting on a grandparent’s lap. Rocco’s illustrations have a soft, realistic style which I really enjoy. There is so much movement in the snow scenes, it makes you want to join in and play along! I also loved his use of many different viewpoints- there is a closeup of a nearly-buried stop sign, a bird’s eye view of the boy walking with his sled, and a full neighborhood map-style page that shows his route to the store-complete with distractions along the way and all his wrong turns! This book is plain and simple fun: a charming tale of imagination and innovation in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

I give this book 5/5 stars




2. Snow by Uri Shulevitz

A Caldecott Honor Book about a little boy who becomes excited when he sees the start of snow. The adults around him shrug it off with very “I’m too busy” adult attitudes, and when the snow begins to really come down, the little boy is overcome with joy at the magic of snowfall, even dancing and playing with statues! This is a great book for the very young-I’d say ages 1-4 because of the simple text. It’s a bit too simple for older children to really enjoy, I think. I personally didn’t love the oversimplicity, but Big T and Little T were transfixed by it, and I see the draw for the young lap reader. Shulevitz’s watercolor illustrations are a unique style: exaggerated features and lines but packed with detail. Think Tomie de Paola meets Tim Burton. For a book titled “Snow”, only about half the illustrations feature more than one or two little snowflakes, but I appreciate the anticipation this builds. The reader’s eagerness can grow along with the little boy’s so that by the time there is a blanket of white, everyone is doing a happy dance!

I give this book 4/5 stars, but the boys give it 5/5 stars




3. The Mitten by Jan Brett

I vaguely remember this book from my childhood, and what I remembered was that it had unique illustrations of some kind-nothing about the actual story. I saw it at the library as a board book and decided to pick it up for a refresher. I am so glad I did-I see why this is a classic! It is based on a Ukranian folktale in which a little boy begs his Grandma to knit him a pair of snow-white mittens, though she warns him they will be easy to lose. The little boy ignores this and, of course, loses a mitten within minutes. A slew of progressively larger animals come across the mitten and crawl inside one after another to keep warm, until finally the mitten can’t hold any more and flies into the air, where the little boy finds it again. Little readers are sure to enjoy the hilarity of watching all the animals cram into the little mitten, and the older readers will have plenty to enjoy with the illustrations. On each page, there is a large, main illustrations that depicts what is going on in the text. There is also a mitten-shaped window to the left and right of the main frame: the left showing the little boy searching for his mitten in various places, and the right foreshadowing the next animal who will come across the mitten. There is so much to absorb on every page, so you can always find new details in your inevitable re-reads of this classic.

I give this book 5/5 stars




4. Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins

This book is my first introduction to the Toys series, though I’ve read several other books that have been gorgeously Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Perhaps some would argue you need the context of the first 3 to fully appreciate this, but I still thought it was a sweet story and the first page quickly and concisely introduces you to the characters. I loved seeing how each of the toys’ personalities affected their approaches to the same tasks, as well as the enormous difference in their speech. The character StingRay puts fourth some really beautiful metaphors, which seem unexpected and a bit out of place compared to the simple, child-like dialogue of the other toys, but it all ties in beautifully at the end of the story and it sets the book apart from others in the category. Hence why the Toys series books have a gigantic collection of Book of the Year and Best Book awards. Makes sense!

I have nothing but great things to say about Paul O. Zelinsky’s illustrations. The style of this book has a much different feel to it than my favorite of his (Rumpelstiltskin) but of course the stories couldn’t be more different, and this is aimed at a younger audience as well. The snow looks so delightfully soft and fluffy that I want to join the toys in rolling around in it. The second half of the book in particular is packed with playful movement, rich color, and the warm feel of affectionate friendship. The way StingRay’s metaphors are illustrated and brought to life is what made me fall in love with this book.

I give this book 5/5 stars


What are your favorite books about snow?


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