Snow on Snow on Snow

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Taking her inspiration from Christina Rossetti's ``In the Bleak Midwinter''-and its lines ``Snow had fallen, snow on snow,/ Snow on snow''-Chapman (Pass the Fritters, Critters) experiments with word repetition in her otherwise sparse story. A boy awakens on a winter day ``under blankets under blankets under blankets'' and heads off to find his friends ``on sleds beside sleds beside sleds.'' The dog, Clancy, vanishes ``into the snow into the wind into the air,'' but rest assured that all ends ``happily ever after ever after ever after.'' The language games work primarily as a curiosity and seem geared to an audience younger than that suggested. Saint James's (Tukama Tootles the Flute) dashing illustrations in bright blocks of oil paint maintain the leanness of the text while adding a certain zip. Compositions are clean and boldly graphic, introducing minimally defined figures in colorful snowsuits against a white background. The artwork adds depth to the text; the words linger in the stillness of the illustrations, their echo reverberating down the hill with the sleds. A deceptively simple, patently attractive book. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is a great book to read to a younger brother or sister. It is the story of a young boy who wakes up one winter's day "under blankets under blankets under blankets," eats a large meal of "food next to food next to food," and after pulling "on clothes over clothes over clothes," goes out to play in "snow on snow on snow." In this remarkable book, the author fuses a poetic voice with the story of a child who indulges himself in fun, misplacing his dog in his zeal. Chapman knows much about balance, not only in plotting elements, but stylistically when to use repetition for best refrain results and when to draw back and let the story tell itself. Synthia Saint James, a newcomer to children's book illustration, has similar natural knack. Her use of bright winter clothes against the stark setting accents all that is wonderful to a child in winter.
School Library Journal
PreS-A simple story about a boy who wakes up on a cold winter morning, goes sledding with his friends, then loses-and finds-his dog. Chapman's poetic narrative, with its strong rhythms, is the best element of this book. Inspired by Rossetti's ``In the Bleak Midwinter,'' the author layers simple words in a way that young children will respond to: ``Once upon a winter's day/I woke up/under blankets under blankets under blankets.'' The paintings, oil and acrylic, resemble Heidi Goennel's work, but have stronger colors and much more texture. This vivid, bold look suits the writing style well. Unfortunately, the illustrations never really come to life, and the characters, especially in movement, seem to lack authenticity. Like Ezra Keats's The Snowy Day (Viking, 1962), this title has an African-American main character; is illustrated with bright, simple shapes; and is about a youngster playing in the snow. Almost anything would suffer in comparison to that lovely book, with its graceful pictures and inspired, minimal text. On the whole, this is an interesting, though not wholly successful, selection.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Hazel Rochman
In a simple story about a boy and his dog on a snowy day, Chapman plays with the concept of prepositions. But this is much more than a grammar lesson. The concrete, physical words have a spare poetry. Saint James' very bright paintings, with flat, clear shapes, look like cutouts and emphasize the beauty of layers and connections. An African American boy says he wakes up "under blankets under blankets under blankets." Mama fills up his plate "with food next to food next to food." He pulls on "clothes over clothes over clothes." With his wonderful longhaired dog, Clancy, who has been with him in every picture, he sleds on the hill with his friends. Then Clancy is lost. The children search behind trees and around bushes, but Clancy has disappeared "into the snow, into the wind, into the air." Several double-page spreads show the downcast boy alone in the middle of a wide sweep of snow: "tears on tears on tears froze my face." In sharp contrast is the final embrace of mother, boy, and dog when Clancy is found: "And we all lived happily ever after ever after ever after." The rhythmic repetition of words and pictures will be great for sharing with the preschool crowd.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803714571
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.17 (d)

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