Children's LiteratureYou can almost hear teachers across America gathering young students around them on a winter day to read aloud this simple, colorful book that beautifully conveys what it is like to be in school when it starts to snow, and the fun of playing outside when school is cancelled on a "snow day." The text is written from the students' collective point of view, and the story starts in a classroom: "High above our school," it begins, "dark clouds fill the sky. Inside the clouds, snowflakes grow until they're too heavy to float. Then they fall. We make paper snowflakes for the windows. 'Snowflakes have six sides,' says our teacher, 'and every flake is different.'" The teacher encourages everyone to go home and wear pajamas backwards and do a snow dance, the age-old school kids' rite for invoking a snow day. The kids walk home through gathering snow. They watch it fall from inside their homes and then play in it the next daya snow day, of course. Their world is transformed: "Fence posts wear hats. Snow snakes lie on the rails. Trees are made of lace." The illustrations make lovely contrasts between the super-bright colors young children are attracted to, that adorn their clothes and sleds, and the subtler, natural colors of the winter landscape. Two pages at the end of the book, "About Snow and Snowflakes," offer many details and higher-level vocabulary words useful for teaching students how snow crystals form and how changes in weather conditions affect the remarkable variety of their shapes. 2005, Albert Whitman & Company, Ages 4 to 8.
J. H. Diehl