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Oh!

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What could be better than waking up to discover that it has snowed all night? Going outside to play in the snow, of course! Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek's first collaboration is a dazzling one, and this cozy, sparkling book is just right for the very young, who will see themselves in the two energetic toddlers who are bundled up against the cold and happy to jump and roll and crunch and hop alongside their backyard friends-a squirrel, rabbit, cat, dog, and flock of cheerful ...
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Overview

What could be better than waking up to discover that it has snowed all night? Going outside to play in the snow, of course! Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek's first collaboration is a dazzling one, and this cozy, sparkling book is just right for the very young, who will see themselves in the two energetic toddlers who are bundled up against the cold and happy to jump and roll and crunch and hop alongside their backyard friends-a squirrel, rabbit, cat, dog, and flock of cheerful birds. Let it snow and snow and snow! Oh!

The morning after a snowfall finds animals and children playing.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Henkes offers a bare-bones arrangement of words to convey snowfall, the creatures that enjoy it, and the passing of the day. "The snow falls and falls all night. In the morning everything is white. And everyone wants to play. Oh!" Animals and children are introduced with the tinkered refrain: "The cat wants to play. Sneak, sneak, sneak, brave young cat. The dog wants to play. Run, run, run, clever old dog." The reasons for the words "brave" and "clever" are never shown in any tangible way. The snowscape is depicted in a dreamy and lovely wash of color by Dronzek, who gives the animals faces, but uses hats and hoods to hide the features of the children. After everyone joins in a peaceable kingdom of building, the shadows lengthen, the snow turns an evening blue, and playtime is over. For all their simplicity, the words and acts have an opacity that encumbers flow and meaning; the haiku-like spareness is employed without effect. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688170547
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 1 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.23 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Laura Dronzek is a painter whose work has been exhibited nationally. Her picture books include Moonlight, by Helen V. Griffith; the acclaimed Birds, by Kevin Henkes; and White Is for Blueberry, by George Shannon. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

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