Uri Shulevitz won a Caldecott Medal
for his illustrated edition of Arthur Ransome's The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
, and has won numerous other awards for illustrating his own books. Not surprising, then, that he'd create such a lovely book as Snow
, a touching story about childish hope, grumpy pessimistic grownups, and the wonder of snowfall. Will the snow come? (Oh, please?) In the first scene there is none, but the second has--if you can find it--a single flake. Then there are more--but they melt. And then, finally... joy! These are unusually subtle illustrations
for a children's book: so many illustrators try to out-do each other with lurid effects and excessive brightness, but many of Shulevitz's exquisite panels are close to monotone. He paints whole cityscapes in a dozen shades of gray, with small human figures who you notice (at second glance) have coats of gray-green, gray-blue, or gray-brown. The adults have tiny Edwardian parasols or handle-bar moustaches. The abstract, atmospheric, folktale effect is heightened by a pared-to-the-bone text, just a few words per page. "'It's nothing,' said man with hat. Then three snowflakes. 'It's snowing,' said boy with dog." Snow
perfectly captures the transformative nature of snow and the result is magical. Click to see a sample spread
. Illustrations and text ©Uri Shulevitz, reprinted with permission from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Ages 3 to 6) --Richard Farr
From Publishers Weekly
In this companion to Dawn and Rain Rain Rivers, Shulevitz uses text as spare as a December landscape to cast a spell of winter magic. Despite predictions to the contrary ("'No snow,' said radio"; "'It'll melt,' said woman with umbrella"), a boy and his dog spy a single snowflake and rush outside in gleeful anticipation. Sure enough, one snowflake turns into two, two into three, and before long snow is "dancing, playing,/ there, and there,/ floating, floating through the air." In a lovely fantasy sequence that hints at the wonder children find in snowfall, a trio of Mother Goose characters climb down from a bookshop window to join the boy and his dog as they frolic through the city streets. The Caldecott Medalist works a bit of visual alchemy as the tale progresses, gradually transforming the chilly gray watercolor washes with flecks of snow, until his cityscape is a frozen fairyland. Pure enchantment from start to finish. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.