First Snow, Magic Snow

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though this latest work from the creators of My Grandmother's Journey offers moments of moving sweetness, it ultimately proves unsatisfying. When the first snow falls, a childless woodsman crafts a baby girl out of the downy white flakes. The child, Snowflake, comes to life and delights her new parents with her joyous nature. But at the first thaw, she disappears, leaving her grief-stricken father and mother to search for her. Cech's account of their journey to reclaim their daughter from Grandfather Frost is rendered in the easy prose style of traditional oral narrative. But this tale, based on a Russian legend, is wordy and overlong for the picture book format, and its abrupt ending-Snowflake's parents calmly accept the fact that their daughter must return each spring to the icy north-strikes a slightly awkward (and possibly confusing) note. MeGinley-Nally's stylized, jewel-like illustrations, in luminous hues of red, blue and violet, seem somewhat static-figures occasionally appear frozen in awkward poses. Still, with its rusticaled artwork and rambling prose, this new take on the familiar theme of a childless couple may please folktale devotees. Ages 47. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- A childless woodsman sculpts a baby from snow. When he takes the creature home, he and his wife discover a tiny live child, who grows with the snowfall into a merry girl. Snowflake, as they name her, takes a firm place in their hearts and community. When spring comes, she disappears in a puff of steam, and only her human parents' trek to appeal to Grandfather Frost allows her to return to them for the snowy part of each year. Quietly and rhythmically told, this tale is based on a Russian story, but its roots are apparently in the Persephone myth. McGinley-Nally's illustrations are spectacular. Exuberant watercolors, predominantly in wintery shades of blue, gray, and violet, are punctuated by vivid peasant clothing and Russian motifs. Many double-paged spreads, with text facing illustration, are framed with borders that extend the plot. Endpapers sport leaping deer, geese, fish, and rabbits that all but jump off the pages. For its theme and interest level, this title is comparable to Molly Bang's Dawn (Morrow, 1983), although it's less emotionally intense. For folklore and picture-book collections, First Snow is a worthwhile addition. --Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780027179712
  • Publisher: Little Simon
  • Publication date: 10/31/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.34 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

John Cech
John Cech writes plays, poetry, and fiction for both children and adults, and is a Professor of English at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is also the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture and has served as a judge for The New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year, as well as the Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards; was President of the Children’s Literature Association; and won the Chandler Award of Merit for his work in Children’s Literature.
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