A small book for children, particularly pre-schoolers, about a little boy who goes outside to play in the new fallen snow. It shows the simple joy and delight a child can have with newly fallen snow. I disagree with the comments of an earlier reviewer (Ms. Whittaker from Rush City, Minnesota, in 1998); the artwork is simple and direct because of the nature of the simple and quiet story and because the book is really aimed a pre-schoolers. Interestingly, the book won the 1963 Caldecott Medal for best illustration in a children's book. As far as I can tell, this book is the first winner which is centered about an African-American child. Hence, for this and other reasons, it is a book that should be on the shelf of any serious student of children literature.
This book is part of my standard baby shower gift package along with Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. With very few words it manages to tell a very simple, yet very elegant story that young children can relate to. The pictures are beautiful and draw children further into the story. As an added bonus, the main character is African-American. Though it makes no difference to the story, it was important to me as a child reading this book 25 years ago to see a kid that looked like me in a book where race was not the focus of the plot, and is important to children of any race reading it today. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for any child of any race, boy or girl.
When "The Snowy Day" first came out, it was considered groundbreaking. Unprecedented. Here, at last, was a picture book in which the protagonist is black. It's not an overtly political book, mind you. Just a nice story about a kid in the city playing in the snow. Having heard about this story for a long time, I decided now was the moment to see how well this book has stood up over time. Ezra Jack Keats has long passed from idle picture book author to a somewhat god-like figure of the children's book world, so does this early work stand out even today? If it was introduced for the first time now, would it be considered as good as it is? Yes and no. The book is both a fabulous creation, and a very simple, very normal, tale that everyone on one level or another is familiar with.In this book, Peter wakes up to discover that snow has covered the city in the night. Delighted, he pulls on his bright red (and now world known) snowsuit and plunges into a day of exploring and playing. He makes fun tracks, and hits snow off the branches of trees. He constructs a smiling snowman and slides down steep mountains of snow. At the end of the day his mother gets him out of his wet clothes and gives him a nice hot bath. The next morning the snow is still there, and an ecstatic Peter calls up a friend to do the whole day over again.When I was a child I loved (and still do) stories that took place in the big cities. Keats never draws an inordinate amount of attention to Peter's surroundings. So while you won't see skyscrapers or taxi cabs, there's a distinctly urban feel to the lay of the land. The text is nice and easy for the youngsters to understand. As for the cut-outs, they're a delight to look at.Read more ›
Exra Jack Keats' "A Snowy Day" is utterly timeless. As simple and charming and lovely today as it was when first published in 1963, it describes the small adventures of Peter, a city boy who wakes up one day to find the city entirely shrouded in snow. Peter does what any other red-blooded child would do: he puts on his snowsuit and runs outside. There he indulges in the age-old pursuits of making funny footprints in the snow, hitting a tree to watch the clumps of snow fall from it, making a snowman and snow angels, and sliding down a hill covered with snow. He even packs a snowball into his coat pocket.The story is minimalist, as are the collages which illustrate the text, but the overall effect is delicious. Peter is a nimble expression of childhood vitality and play, and the pictures combine fabric, rubber stamps, what looks to be wallpaper, paper cut-outs, and fiber to very great effect. It's short, it's sweet, and it's simple--just like the best snowy days.
A simple old fashioned story that reminds one of the wonders of a SNOW! I never read this book as a child, but I'm glad I found it for my daughter. She is 19 months old and brings it to me to read to her every night and even before her afternoon nap. The simplicity is wonderful and it is basically a feel good book. I would recommend it for any child's library.
I purchased this book for my one year old daughter because I remembered it from my childhood. My daughter enjoys it so much that I now read the book 6 times a day and I still enjoy the book. It is particulaly difficult to find books featuring black children with a strong story line. The Snowy Day hits the mark. I now intend to purchase other Ezra Keats books.
There aren't a lot of books that both a little child and a weary (wee bit bored, perhaps?) adult can both appreciate. This is one. Keats understands how young children think, how they look at the world. When the young protagonist Peter sits in the tub and thinks and thinks about the day's adventures, I'm struck by recognition both as a parent and as a former small child. I've seen that faraway expression, that serious working through.
The deftness of the language and the beautiful illustrations humble me. The focus of the story and the things that fascinate young Peter also fascinate my little boy, who is 19 months old. He asks me to read this to him at least three times a night. And it's so wonderfully done, I don't even mind.
Whether your child is white, black, purple, green or checkered, get this book. This is a wonderful book.