Counting on Snow

Overview

Maxwell Newhouse, folk artist extraordinaire, has created a unique counting book. The premise is simple. He invites children to count with him from ten crunching caribou down to one lonely moose, by finding other northern animals - from seals to wolves to snowy owls - as they turn the pages. But as the animals appear, so does the snow, until it's a character too, obliterating light and dark, sky and earth.

A gorgeous exploration of the isolation and the beauty of northern ...

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Overview

Maxwell Newhouse, folk artist extraordinaire, has created a unique counting book. The premise is simple. He invites children to count with him from ten crunching caribou down to one lonely moose, by finding other northern animals - from seals to wolves to snowy owls - as they turn the pages. But as the animals appear, so does the snow, until it's a character too, obliterating light and dark, sky and earth.

A gorgeous exploration of the isolation and the beauty of northern winter, Maxwell Newhouse has created a deceptively simple picture book that can be enjoyed by all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this petite counting book, striking oil compositions feature groups of animals in an increasingly snowy Arctic. On the flip side of each page, Newhouse portrays the same animal ensembles in mid-movement, as though exiting the tableaus. Alliterative gerunds describe each scene: a sculptural tower of rocks is a perch for "8 ravens raving" amid snow flurries, and on the following page, the flock lifts off. In another spread, four white hares huddle before withdrawing into the storm, and when a single moose, "silent in the falling snow," disappears, the next frame is filled with only flecks of blizzard white. A sparse and lovely meditation on winter wilderness. Ages 2–5. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The House That Max Built:
"Warmly rendered folk-art-style oil paintings show the house coming together over time. Varied perspectives focus on the people as much as on the work they do, reinforcing the importance of teamwork and specialization."
- School Library Journal

"Fresh and informative."
- Booklist

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
The Arctic storm is approaching as the reader observes ten caribou crunching the tall Canadian grass. Scattered snowflakes fall on nine muskoxen mingling. The snow continues to increase as eight ravens rave, seven trumpeter swans trumpet, six seals slip, and five wolves watch. By the time the four huddling hares appear, the page is filled with falling snow. The three prowling polar bears wander away and the two swooping snowy owls are barely visible in the snow splattered landscape. The silent moose stands alone in silhouette in the background. He could be missed altogether if the caption didn't make note of his presence. Then all the animals are gone and the page is filled with blowing snow. The last illustration shows ten adult muskoxen standing in a circle facing out as they protect three of their young in the protected center of the space. The realistic animals and the backgrounds in tones of gray, black, and white convey the winter scenes as dark and chilly. A possible introduction to Arctic animals for young children. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Newhouse begins with "10 caribou crunching" and counts backwards to "1 moose, silent in the falling snow." In between, other animals that inhabit the upper reaches of Canada are featured. The paintings are dark, featuring black and grays, occasionally relieved by sapphire blue. The animals are closely intertwined, making it difficult to ensure an accurate count. Snow slowly begins to fall, further increasing the difficulty of seeing the animals as separate and distinct. Perhaps this was Newhouse's intent, requiring children to focus closely, but the likelihood is that they will be frustrated instead. Better counting books abound, as do books featuring these particular animals.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A quiet Arctic counting book takes readers from "10 caribou crunching" and "9 muskoxen mingling" down to "2 snowy owls swooping" and "1 moose, silent in the falling snow." Dramatic oils contained within frames against glossy white pages present each group of animals with minimal descriptive text on recto; turn the page and the same group is presented, wordlessly, in a slightly different attitude (in a comical touch, the caribou all present their rumps to readers, but Newhouse wisely does not overplay this joke). As the countdown proceeds, the snow begins to fall, getting heavier with each panel until it nearly obscures the animals; the effect of the snow over the five wolves, for hares, three polar bears and two snowy owls—all white to begin with—is spectacular, and readers will feel the chill. Lovely and, thanks to its small trim, intimate. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887769856
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 1,406,171
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

MAXWELL NEWHOUSE is a highly accomplished folk artist whose work has been widely exhibited in galleries across Canada. He has illustrated Laura Secord: A Story of Courage by Janet Lunn and Emily Carr: At the Edge of the World by Jo Ellen Bogart. He has also written and illustrated several books including the acclaimed The RCMP Musical Ride, Let's Go for a Ride - a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award in Children's Illustration, The House That Max Built, and The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew.
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