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Snow (Sunburst Books) Paperback – September 23, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 220L (What's this?)
  • Series: Sunburst Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (October 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374468621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374468620
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Since I love snow and obviously live in an area where it is a big deal if it does, I was immediately drawn to open the cover of this beautifully illustrated book. I love the simplicity of words and unique fun illustrations. It reads like how a child would think and that's what makes it so beautiful. Since it is not cluttered with too many words, the story allows the reader and the person being read to, to think and use their own thoughts and imagination. The storyline is about a boy's hope and faith that one snowflake will lead to two, and more, despite the unbelieving and cynical opinions of adults who cross his path. I can actually put myself in his shoes and jump right in those pages. I hope my children will grow to love this book like I do. It has become one of my personal treasures.
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Format: Hardcover
By and large, the general rule guiding picture books and the Caldecott awards they garner is that no children's author/illustrator ever wins the Caldecott Award for their best work. This rule generally applies to all awards, I suppose in some way. Oscar winning actors, actresses, and directors never seem to win for their best films either. But the case seems to be even more extreme when it comes to picture books. Let's take author/illustrator extraordinaire Uri Shulevitz as our example. Now review your Caldecott knowledge and tell me what book earned Shulevitz a Caldecott. If you said, "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship", you are correct. Now, tell me which book Shulevitz both wrote and illustrated which DESERVED the Caldecott Award (not Honor). If you said, "Snow" then you are once more right right right. I recently discovered this charming and thoroughly pleasing little book all on my own and I can tell you here and now that aside from the great "Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, there is no other book that so skillfully pinpoints the elation a child feels at the first real snowfall of the year.

We're in a village. A village where the clouds hang heavy overhead and the only words on the first page are, "The skies are gray. The rooftops are gray. The whole city is gray". The next two-page spread gives a perfect sense of anticipation. Underneath this mono-colored set of stores and houses are the words, "Then......one snowflake". And if you look very very carefully, there's a single spot of white against the gray swelling watercolor that is the sky. A boy in an orange hat points out the flake with delight, his dog by his side. His grandfather, however, doesn't think snow is possible. Then there are two snowflakes (with a man in a hat pish-pishing the possibility).
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book at the preschool I work at. With beautiful illustrations and simple words, it shows the reader that one little snowflake can certainly turn into a snowstorm. The children loved it. It demonstrated the "faith like a child" we all wish we still had.
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Format: Hardcover
Everything goes together in this book. The illustrations are simple and evocative, the text is minimal, you need to read it with weight to convey the mood; the gray, unremarkable city populated with gray, unremarkable adults is uninspiring. A little boy sees one snowflake (yes, it's there, look hard) and gets excited. Not so the adults: 'grandfather with beard', 'man with hat', and 'woman with umbrella' brush him off. The city is still gray. WE are gray, but the boy believes and indeed the snowflakes keep coming until they begin to build up on the street and buildings. The boy and his Mother Goose companions get happier and the illustrations get brighter. The dour adults are driven indoors, the boy dances with delight. Imagination, enthusiasm, and hope have triumphed.

With few words and understated illustrations the book is amazingly alive!

My only reservation is that many of the pictures are rather too small for a story group to really appreciate from a distance. In order for the children to take note of the details (such as one lone snowflake) it is necessary to bring the pages down to each child for a closer look. This does bleak the reading flow. A few unfolding pages when applicable (as in "Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me")would go a long way to making this story more visual. Aside from that little quibble I think this is a delightful book for children.
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By A Customer on January 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The illustrations in this book capture the mood of snow. The gray sky gives way to more and more and more white snowflakes culminating in a snow covered world. The artwork's gradual buildup of the storm truly evokes the soft, silent feel of snow.
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Format: Hardcover
This book envelops the reader and the simplicity is superb to any children's book I have ever read. It is my boyfriend's favorite book, and he is 18 years old! Keep up the beautiful work, Uri.
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Format: Board book
In The Little Prince, the six year old Antoine de Saint-Exupery draws a picture of an elephant inside a boa constrictor. He shows it to the grown-ups, expecting them to be terrified, to find that they can only see what looks to them like a hat.

Something similar is afoot in Snow, by Caldecott Award winning author Uri Shulevitz. A little boy (identified only as "boy with dog") sees endless potential as the first flake of snow is sighted over an otherwise grey city. Filled with hope, he runs through the streets of the town crying out,"It's snowing".

Here are some of the responses of the adults he encounters on his way:

"'It's only a snowflake,' said grandfather with beard".

"'It's nothing,' said man with hat".

"'It'll melt,' said woman with umbrella".

They are backed up by the media:

"'No snow,' said radio".

"'No snow,' said television".

But as is importantly noted, "...snowflakes don't listen to radio, snowflakes don't watch television". And soon the whole city is blanketed in a thick cover of snow as boy with dog frolics about...

Shulevitz' great genius, as always, is in his illustrations. They perfectly capture the overbrimming exuberance of boy with dog, and contrast this with the snooty and aloof demeanor of the grown-ups. And the transformation of the town that follows is deeply evocative.

It's for good reason that Snow was selected as a Caldecott Honor Book by the 1998 ALSC selection committee.

Highly recommended.
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