Snow Music

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What does it take to make snow music?

A boy and a girl.
A squirrel, rabbit,
deer, and bird.
Also neighbors.
A dog.
Lost and then found.

And snow falling. Peth.
And melting. Drip.
And falling again.

You can listen.
You can also sing along.

When a dog gets loose from the house on a snowy day, his owner searches for him and experiences the sounds of various animals and things in the snow.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Just as the story works on all kinds of levels, so does its retelling, and not all of its sound is caught in language. Snow Music offers a sophisticated experience, yet that richness is accessible to all. Perkins's previous work has leapt on to more than one listing of notable books. So will Snow Music. — Dennis Duffy
Publishers Weekly
Using subtle patterns of shapes, color and onomatopoeic sounds, Perkins (The Broken Cat) invokes multiple experiences and layers of meaning in this complex, imaginative picture book. A scene depicted inside a snow globe on the jacket appears to become the story's setting; in the final illustration, the globe sits on a shelf between a toy car and squirrel (both of which play a role in the story). Waking up after a snowfall, a boy accidentally lets his dog out of the house, then spends the day searching for him. Into this arc Perkins weaves separate, complete moments. For example, one spread shows a gray squirrel and its criss-crossing pawprints on the right, while on the left, lines of type mimic the haphazard pattern of the creature's path: "I think-/ I think/ I left it-/ I think/ I left it/ here-/ somewhere... / I think." Elsewhere Perkins spectacularly recreates the music of a winter's day: the dog, against a solid white background, runs off to the right; on the left, the canine's tags (and his exhalations) are pictured as notes on a musical staff, "jingle huff jingle huff." A car drives by ("poot poot poot poot poot..."); a leaf hits the pavement ("K-tk"); snow falls (the repeated word "peth" cascades down the page, contained in dozens of multihued blue circles). Although the intricate structure (abrupt transitions and multiple shifts in perspective) may make this story challenging for youngest readers, the sophistication of Perkins's melodic, rhythmic and visual orchestration merits attention from older readers. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Snow music comes with the falling of night snow. The author paints a peaceful, gentle tale here, one readers will love! Characters slip silently through the nighttime hours until dawn. A wintry day blanketed with fresh snow awaits a young boy. The boy peers into the snowy softness. That is when a problem develops. His dog scampers out the open door to explore on its own. The answer is for the boy, and a friend, to explore the snow and search for the dog. Some pages hold snow tracks made by a bird, a deer, and a bushy tailed squirrel. Their activities and the text hold ideas to think about. And then new tracks appear; they are the tracks of the boy and his friend make stamping through the snowy softness. A musical staff illustrated with the dog's breath huffs and the jingles of its collar tags add to the snow music. So do the poot, poot sounds of a frosty car driving through the snow. Snow sounds of the sanding truck play out against the other tracks. Cold, hungry boys, without the dog, go home to eat. Only the reader is apprised of the situation, which shows the dog right under the window of its own home. The day rolls on and the boys head back to the outside world of melting snow. Soon they find the dog. Snow music lingers. Again it begins to snow. We know what will happen. More snow music! This delightful book is one worthy of many reads. 2003, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 3 to 7.
— Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-This picture book begins and ends with a whisper of snow. In between, a lost dog, a boy, a girl, a deer, a rabbit, and a squirrel cross paths as readers follow their tracks through the vast white of the pages. The tracks are both textual and pictorial as they create meandering word patterns and paint pictures of footprints in the snow. From the "peth, peth, peth" of the falling snow to the "jingle, huff, jingle, huff-" of the runaway dog, the text sings. The written word becomes a choral reading with solo voices while the ink-and-watercolor illustrations add another dimension to the composition. On some pages the paintings add a hush to the music; on others they brighten the song. White backgrounds create a crisp cold day, while more colorful, painterly pages realistically picture the rural neighborhood. This title will harmonize well with Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day (Viking, 1962) and other wintry favorites.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An uncomplicated story about a boy who awakens to the wonder of an overnight snow, opens his backdoor, accidentally lets his dog escape, and searches for his pet with a neighbor. Endpapers covered with snowflake notes signal that in Perkins's hands, this is anything but ordinary. As the title indicates, this is a visual and textual choral piece that includes opportunities for listeners to join in. It opens with the susurrant sound of the falling snow and the invitation that "everyone whisper." Members of the "ensemble" (bird, rabbit, squirrel, deer, dog, children) are introduced as the day begins. Text replicates the shape of tracks left in the snow, which sometimes become the onomatopoetic sounds that make the snow music. Tire tracks become musical staffs. The watercolor palette is icy blue and white, and earthy brown with touches of color like the red in the dog's tags and boy's boots. The story comes full circle, ending with the snow globe on the cover . . . a miniature replica of the children's whisper-quiet winter world. Masterful and unique. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780066239569
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/14/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 804,070
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is the author of two other novels—All Alone in the Universe, a companion to Criss Cross, and As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth. Lynne Rae Perkins has also written and illustrated several picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author, who loves peanut butter, lives with her family in northern Michigan, land of forests and squirrels.

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is the author of two other novels—All Alone in the Universe, a companion to Criss Cross, and As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth. Lynne Rae Perkins has also written and illustrated several picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author, who loves peanut butter, lives with her family in northern Michigan, land of forests and squirrels.

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