Narrated by a bunny child, the story builds slowly but with a growing tension, reinforced by the rough, grainy illustrations…The art in The Snow Day is unpretty and mesmerizing. This world is dark, heavy, unsentimental and thick with…the bittersweet solitude of snow.
The New York Times
Snow has been falling all night, and when a small rabbit awakens, he learns that kindergarten is closed, his mother can't go to the store, and his father's flight home has been canceled. "Mommy, we are all alone in the world," he announces solemnly, and even though he's clearly safe and sound in an apartment with all the modern comforts, readers will understand his bittersweet feelings of isolation and solitude. Sakai (Emily's Balloon) takes a very different approach in these pages: focusing more on setting and mood than characterization, she turns each illustration into a vivid snapshot (Mommy on the phone with stranded Daddy, an outdoor hug before the dash back indoors). Against a palette of grays and muted colors, she uses the yellow of the rabbit's jacket or boots to focus the reader's gaze, and layers the paints to suggest the intimacy and coziness of the hearth, the eerie but irresistible starkness of a landscape transformed by snow. Ages 3-5. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A young anthropomorphic rabbit tells of the day that the school bus is stuck in the snow and kindergarten is closed. Mommy says no going out until the snow stops, but our excited bunny sneaks out on the balcony to make snow dumplings. The snow continues through the day. There is no going to the grocery store. Even Daddy's flight home is cancelled. The world is cold and quiet as the snow falls. When our rabbit is brushing his (or her) teeth, the snow finally stops. Although it is bedtime, Mommy gives in to the pleas and they go outside, "just for a little while." There is time to make footprints, snowballs, even snow monsters, in the magical world of the snow. And there will be more time for it all tomorrow, along with the promise of Daddy coming home. Sakai's framed, textured illustrations have the qualities of a tone poem. The end pages are gray over a white background with small white round shapes; this pattern is picked up in the city scenes representing the falling snow and expressing soft silence. We watch the snow with the mother and child and enjoy the fresh whiteness. Little or no text is needed to tell the simple story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
A five-year-old (rabbit) awakes one morning to discover that there will be no school, no daddy flying home today, and no going out outside-until the snow stops. Sakai clearly understands the predicament of being cooped up in an urban high rise: trying to stay entertained with games, constantly gazing out the window, being lured by the balcony. Her subdued palette and minimalist text suggest the blanketed sound produced by a heavy snowfall. Window-shaped frames with tight cropping contain the energy in the interior scenes; most exterior compositions bleed off the page-oh marvelous freedom! The layers of paint are applied to a black ground with a combination of wet and dry brushes, producing a convincing depth and texture; the darkness is a perfect foil for the cottony bright snowflakes. While the mother may appear overprotective about her bunny's health, she does relent when the snow stops, even though it is bedtime, and the pair enjoys a nocturnal adventure. The protagonist narrates in the first person; thus, the sentences are appropriately concise, yet with lovely rhythms and interesting details. (He ultimately makes snowballs and snow dumplings.) Atmospheric, tender, full of anticipation and satisfaction, this one will charm young children. In Leonid Gore's Danny's First Snow (S & S, 2007), a young rabbit, possessed of an active imagination, is encountering white creatures at every turn. Used together, the two books provide contrasting emotional and visual experiences of a universally beloved phenomenon (at least by young rabbits/children).-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Little rabbit wakes to find it's been snowing all night long. Excited about the snow day, the pajama-clad tyke bolts for the door, but Mommy doesn't want her little one to catch cold. Together they must wait for the storm to subside, and the dark-lit day is filled with a series of quiet, intimate moments: Little rabbit makes a snow dumpling on the apartment balcony; mother and offspring play cards to pass the time; the two silently watch the snow fall and feel the solitude of the empty streets. "Mommy, we are all alone in the world," says the meditative bunny as the snow swirls around them, creating a vast canvas of white and grey. Sakai's muted palette and grainy illustrations perfectly capture the quiet, opaque atmosphere of a snowy day. The cant of rabbit's ears and clever compositions subtly indicate the little one's emotional state: Tighter, denser compositions denote when rabbit is safe inside; open, expansive urban landscapes with ample negative space capture the freedom of playing in fresh-fallen snow. A reassuring story, perfect for a winter's day. (Picture book. 3-5)