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Big Snow

Overview

While “helping” his mother with holiday housecleaning, a boy keeps a watchful eye on the progress of a winter storm. He’s hoping for a big snow. A really big snow. Inside, he is underfoot, turning sheet-changing and tub-scrubbing into imaginary whiteouts. Outside, flakes are flying. But over the course of a long day (for Mom) the clouds seem slow on delivering a serious snowfall. Then comes a dreamy naptime adventure, marking just the beginning of high hopes coming true in ...

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Overview

While “helping” his mother with holiday housecleaning, a boy keeps a watchful eye on the progress of a winter storm. He’s hoping for a big snow. A really big snow. Inside, he is underfoot, turning sheet-changing and tub-scrubbing into imaginary whiteouts. Outside, flakes are flying. But over the course of a long day (for Mom) the clouds seem slow on delivering a serious snowfall. Then comes a dreamy naptime adventure, marking just the beginning of high hopes coming true in this irresistible seasonal story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A “big snow” can’t arrive soon enough for a boy named David. Mom tries to keep him occupied with household tasks, but everything he does only makes him think about what’s happening outside (flour, bathroom cleaner suds, and white bed sheets all remind him of accumulation). When it’s clear that David’s help is actually creating more mess, Mom suggests a nap—and David, in turn, dreams that the snow has turned into a vengeful, invasive blizzard: “ild wind pushed flakes through window cracks.... t roared and blew open all the doors and piled drifts around the house.” Never mind being careful what you wish for—how are David and his mother going to clean up this huge mess? This is another terrific offering from Bean (Building Our House); his subtly rhythmic prose and elegant, astute watercolors hit just the right notes of comedy, suspense, and fantasy. The dream scene of Mom vacuuming the snow out of her drift-covered living room is at once deeply silly and a tribute to the indomitable will of mothers everywhere. Ages 3–6. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“This delightful picture book charts a child’s excitement over the imminent arrival of a snowstorm. . . This wonderful tale begs to be read aloud.” —School Library Journal

*“Terrific . . . [Bean’s] subtly rhythmic prose and elegant, astute watercolors hit just the right notes of comedy, suspense, and fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

*“Winter’s chills, rituals and resulting familial closeness, rendered in simple, surprisingly poignant drawings, make this a perennial read at first frost.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Bean uses soft pastels to depict a warm kitchen, loving parents, and a yellow cat, whose presence can be spied on every page.” —BCCB

“Bean’s superbly patterned text builds anticipation, and his pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations make clear links between what is going on in David’s imagination and what is happening out in the real world. The warm illustrations showing brown-skinned David’s cozy home provide a nice contrast to the occasional wordless double-page spread showing the outdoors, with an ever-increasing amount of snow. Young readers are sure to identify with David’s longing and excitement.” —The Horn Book

“The turn of the season often elicits from children the first wistful conversations about snow: When will it come? How much will there be? These are the questions that consume a preschooler in Jonathan Bean's quietly lovely Big Snow. Trailing his mother about the house as she cooks and cleans, ‘helping’ her so enthusiastically that he doubles the work, little David wonders about the weather. As flakes begin to cover the streets, and David's excitement grows, we alternate between snug indoor scenes and the sight of the child's neighborhood disappearing—at last!—beneath a heavy blanket of white. A glimpse of the end of autumn, if not quite yet.” —The Wall Street Journal

 

Children's Literature - Suzie Davis
David is your typical little boy eager for a big snowstorm. His mother attempts to distract him throughout the day by giving him little chores to do. Unfortunately for his mother, David ends up making more of a mess when his particular chores—measuring sugar and flour for cookies, scrubbing the bathroom with sudsy soap, or changing the white bed sheets—remind him of different aspects of playing in the snow. As the snow begins to fall, David is constantly checking on its progress hoping for lots of snow. Eventually he tires from the waiting and falls asleep where he dreams a gigantic storm that falls so heavily and blows so hard that it piles up inside the house. David awakens when his Dad comes home from work and they head outside to see if it is finally a “big snow”. Children and parents alike will delight in Bean’s story and his brilliant illustrations depicting the progress of snowfall and a young boy’s eagerness to play in the snow. Reviewer: Suzie Davis; Ages 4 to 7.
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
PreS-Gr 1—This delightful picture book charts a child's excitement over the imminent arrival of a snowstorm. Readers first see David standing in his yard, staring anxiously at the sky. There's no snow yet, but the youngster waits bundled in coat, scarf, and hat with his red sled in tow. Inside the house, his mom peers at him through the curtains. She attempts to distract him with chores: cookie baking, bathroom cleaning, changing sheets in the guest bedroom. Each task, however, holds his attention for just a few minutes, then: "the flour, white and fine, made David think of snow." The suds and new sheets evoke a similar response, and, each time, David dashes out to check the weather. Mom patiently suggests David eat lunch and take a nap. He dreams that the storm piles drifts throughout the house as he and his mother struggle to push them back outside. Bean's storytelling builds a delicious contrast between the cozy indoor scenes and neighborhood panoramas that depict the storm's arrival. These parallel David's emotions: impatience, excitement, and wonder. Bean's well-executed illustrations capture the tenderness of David's family, and add appealing details, such as the cat that wanders in and out. David is a worthy, small-town successor to Peter from Ezra Jack Keats's classic The Snowy Day. This wonderful tale begs to be read aloud.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
David tries to help his mother with Christmas housecleaning, but his mind swirls with thoughts of the big snow predicted to fall that afternoon. The flour he measures for cookies reminds him of a snow's initial, light dusting; soapy bubbles seem like fat flakes piling up; clean bed linens appear as white-blanketed pastures. With each association, the boy abruptly abandons his task to go "check the weather." Children and caregivers will recognize the familiar scene--how many times have little helpers gone missing? They'll also hear the echoes of their own conversations, of hopeful questions about a snow's arrival and accumulation, breathlessly posed again and again. These repeated behaviors, the cycle of questions and answers and a boy's coming and going, structure this seasonal story and capture the cozy monotony of a domestic day indoors. Sandy browns and lemony yellows make the warmth of David's home palpable--even its smells and rhythms, almost. As the snowstorm gets bigger and bigger, readers survey its progress by noting changes on delightfully detailed double-page spreads of David's backyard and surrounding neighborhood. Dusky pinks, cool whites and blues deliver a muted winter afternoon and evening, effectively contrasting with the glowing luminescence of twinkling windows. Winter's chills, rituals and resulting familial closeness, rendered in simple, surprisingly poignant drawings, make this a perennial read at first frost. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374306960
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 220,459
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Lexile: AD470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Bean received an M.F.A. from New York’s School of Visual Arts and now lives and works in Pennsylvania. His first book, At Night, won a 2008 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award, and his latest book, Building Our House, was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Jonathan is also the illustrator of two acclaimed picture books by Lauren Thompson, The Apple Pie That Papa Baked and One Starry Night.

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