It's Snowing!by Gail Gibbons
What is snow? Where does it come from? Crystal-clear facts and fascinating details abound in nonfiction pro Gail Gibbons's exploration of this wintry wonder.
Children's Literature - Chelsea Couillard-SmithSnow can mean "snow days" (no school), and the fun of snow angels and snowmen, but what is snow anyway? Gibbons illuminates the science behind snow and its many forms in this accessible introduction. From the process of evaporation, to the formation of ice crystals, and finally snowflakes, young readers trace the evolution of water into snow through simple text and bright, colorful, watercolor illustrations. The book can work two ways: the main narrative makes an engaging read-aloud, while supplemental text on each page provides more in-depth information and defines vocabulary words. Gibbons covers the prevalence of snowfall across the globe, the differences between snow, sleet, and blizzard conditions, and the ways in which snow operates as part of a larger ecosystem, protecting plants and animals tucked underground. Readers learn tips for dressing appropriately and preparing for disaster. Suggestions for a simple hands-on activity to capture and examine snowflakes is appended along with a selection of trivia facts about snow. Despite the breadth of topics addressed, the narrative has a logical flow, and each change in subject is clearly marked by the appearance of a summarizing statement in a larger font displayed at the top of the page. Gibbons' book provides a comprehensive and child-friendly overview of an often mystifying natural process; and would be a useful tool for early elementary classrooms learning about the water cycle and the seasons, as well as a good addition to weather or winter-themed storytimes.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 3—Written in the style of Gibbons's Hurricanes! and Tornadoes! (both Holiday House, 2009), this book grabs the intended audience with stylized bright drawings and short blocks of text. It addresses what happens when it snows and covers cloud formation, ice crystals, and snowflakes; a simplified map illustrates worldwide snowfall regions. Ways in which snow falls to the ground, such as sleet, flurries, and a storm, are also discussed. Pictures show children playing, building snowmen, and making snow angels. There are tips about staying warm and preparing for a snowstorm, and a simple project on viewing a snowflake close up. Back matter mentions Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, the first person believed to have taken a picture of a snowflake, and the Great Blizzard of 1888. Libraries will want this as a general purchase for weather units.—Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus ReviewsThe prolific Gibbons' latest is a utilitarian, beginner's look at snow. Opening with explaining how ice crystals form and merge together within clouds to create snowflakes, the text then touches on the fact that snow falls on every continent (though least on Antarctica). Next, Gibbons examines the different ways snow can fall--flurries, sleet, snowstorm and blizzard--and how people can know when snow is headed their way: "A blizzard happens when lots and lots of snow falls. The wind is howling. The snow is drifting. There can be whiteouts." Briefly touching on snow clean up, outdoor activities and how snow benefits plants and wildlife, the text concludes with some ways to be prepared, a few Web resources and a list of fascinating facts, including some records--the largest snowflake (15 inches wide!) and biggest snowfall in one day (6'4"). There are also instructions for collecting and closely observing snowflakes, just as Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley did. Asides within the softly colored watercolor illustrations help define vocabulary: snowdrift, whiteout, evaporation, meteorologist. This, combined with short, simple sentences, make the book easily accessible for both young children and beginning readers. Though it lacks the flair and depth of others, the breadth and ease of the text make this a good introduction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)
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