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The First Day of Winter Hardcover – September 15, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K–Told in a rhythm reminiscent of The Twelve Days of Christmas, a snowman's tale begins, On the first day of winter my best friend gave to me…/a red cap with a gold snap. The benefactor continues to deck out the snowman with two bright blue mittens for his stick hands; five birdseed pockets; nine big black buttons for his eyes, nose, and front; and, finally, 10 salty peanuts for his wintry toes. As in the holiday song, each time a new item is introduced, the story counts back to the first gift. Fleming captures the tranquility and light of snowy days with her unique artistic style. Her paper-pulp and stencil illustrations depict a winter wonderland in which vibrant striped scarves, blue mittens, and red hats provide the color in a white, uncluttered landscape. A squirrel, a mouse, a bird, a cat, a rabbit and a deer appear on each spread and seem to gaze at readers. The perspective shifts throughout the book, so on one page children look down on the snowman, while on others they look up at him from the ground. Readers finally see the snowman's friend, a bundled-up child, on the 10th day of winter. Quietly told and thoughtfully illustrated, Fleming's work celebrates the season and all of winter's creatures.–Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-K. Vibrant, handmade paper compositions illustrate this secular spin on "The Twelve Days of Christmas." "On the first day of winter my best friend gave to me . . . a red cap," read the words, as richly textured images show a snowman (unadorned except for a scarlet hat) in a wide, snowy field. On subsequent days, the snowman receives more presents (two bright blue mittens; three striped scarves, and so on) from his best friend, a young, toast-brown child--until he is fully outfitted with winter accessories, including the final "ten salty peanuts." This is a winning choice on many levels. The beautiful illustrations, shown from unusual angles, contrast the vivid colors of cozy scarves, mittens, and curious animals (deer, squirrels) with the inviting white of the snow. The syllables of the text match easily with the tune of the familiar Christmas carol, making the book ideal for holiday lap sits. Fleming deepens the counting exercise with winter magic--the snowman who speaks, his friendship with a young child, and the simple, astonishing thrill of a snowy day. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805073841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805073843
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Denise Fleming won a Caldecott Honor for In the Small, Small Pond. She is the author and illustrator of eighteen picture books, including Buster.

***INTERVIEW***
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Toledo,Ohio, where I live still. I am a midwestern girl.

Q: What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing?
A: It seems like I was always writing and drawing. I wanted to share my ideas from the beginning. A bit bossy am I.

Q: What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book?
A: I started collecting picture books in art school. I was crazy about the whole picture book format. I realized, as I was sharing books with my daughter, that making books is what I needed to do.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books?
A: I work in clay, create art from tin cans, and make art dolls. Right now I am working on combining all three media. I also dye and paint fabric for the dolls.
Planting flowers and painting the outside of my house and studio is what I am busy doing right now.

Q: What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors/illustrators?
A: Experiment with different styles and media.

*From Macmillan's Denise Fleming page.

Customer Reviews

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I have loved using it in my elementary music classroom!
Sarah
With the publication of this book, I can now also heartily thrust "The First Day of Winter" into these parents' waiting arms with a kind of haphazard glee.
E. R. Bird
Lots of facts along with fun story to keep children engaged.
I'mBrittanyB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If there were a librarian lobby out there, I would seriously suspect that Denise Fleming was held under their sway. How else to explain the fact that every book she creates fits your average children's librarian's needs to a tee? Whether she's using her one-of-a-kind humor and artistic technique to teach kids about colors as in "Lunch", providing a particularly original animal readaloud as found in "Barnyard Banter", or writing the number one BEST toddler storytime picture book, "In A Small Small Pond", the woman practically caters to your average librarian's every desire. "The First Day of Winter" is no exception to the rule. Utilizing a technique that incorporates everything from colored cotton fiber and hand-cut stencils to squeeze bottles, "Winter" provides the perfect wintertime readaloud book, especially for those with a hearty singing voice.

Written to the tune of "Twelve Days of Christmas", "The First Day of Winter" is a joyful tale of the building of a snowman. So the book begins with, "On the first day of winter my best friend gave to me ... a red cap with a gold snap". With each consecutive day the snowman is slowly built up and up. It gets two bright blue mittens, 3 striped scarfs, 4 prickly pinecones, etc. Some of these additions are alliterative and some just fun to say like, "5 birdseed pockets". With each addition of food or sustenance, winter animals cluster closer and closer to the snowman. When the last verse (it doesn't go as far as twelve) results in 10 salty peanuts it is clear that the snow"man" is actually a rather nice snow"woman". Our last images in the book are of her walking off to have a chat with another snowfellow at the top of a nearby hill.

There's such a sense of satisfaction when you read this book aloud.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Stypula on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to use with my job as a special education preschool teacher who travels from site to site. I use this book to teach colors and counting. I love it because it follows the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" and the kids love to sing along with it! I also made felt cut outs of each piece and we put together our own snowman as we read the book! The illustrations are great and the text super! Wish I thought of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"This charming tale will have young readers counting along as a boy builds a snowman with lots of personality - plus accessories!" (summary by Susan Hayes in Woman's Day magazine)

The cadence reminds the reader of the Twelve Days of Christmas and the repetition is appealing to young children aged three and under.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Rylant Rochester, NY on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My preschool children love to count all the items to build the snowman and to sing the song along with the counting!!!!
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By School Mom on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this book to be a guest reader at my granddaughter's school where they didn't want a Christmas book. Had a great time making the snowman and decorating him with the items from the book!
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