Snow School

Snow School

by Sandra Markle, Alan Marks
     
 

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The author/illustrator team of Sandra Markle and Alan Marks has had a profound impact on the world of children’s nonfiction with their collaborative efforts on books about different animals around the world. From wolves in Yellowstone to penguins in Antarctica, readers and critics have raved about the way in which Markle and Marks share their stories and

Overview

The author/illustrator team of Sandra Markle and Alan Marks has had a profound impact on the world of children’s nonfiction with their collaborative efforts on books about different animals around the world. From wolves in Yellowstone to penguins in Antarctica, readers and critics have raved about the way in which Markle and Marks share their stories and information about animals in the wild.

In their newest project, readers are introduced to twin snow leopard cubs and their mother from the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan. Lyrical, informative text and stunning watercolor illustrations lead readers through the struggles these snow leopards face—from finding food to bearing harsh weather conditions—and the lessons the young cubs learn as they prepare for a life on their own, out from underneath the watchful, caring eye of their mother.

Back matter includes further resources and facts as well as an author’s note about the research process and information about how we can help this endangered species.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In May, in Pakistan's Hindu Kush Mountains, twin brother and sister snow leopard cubs await their mother's return. Luckily, she manages to drive away an attacking golden eagle. As they grow, the cubs tussle and their mother trains them. At two months of age, they begin to eat from their mother's kill; at five months they join her hunting, absorbing important lessons along the way. When winter arrives, they continue to hunt and learn. In spring, they go back up the mountain range to grow and hunt together. Soon the twins will go off to hunt alone. While respecting the need for scientific accuracy in his illustrations, Marks uses pencils and watercolors to create aesthetically moving double-page landscapes with the animals that live in them. The snow leopards are appealing creatures with soft white fur decorated with black spots and touches of orange blends. They move with vital elegance, whether in play or travel in the rocky environment. Even in the hunting scenes, showing their aggressive force and ultimate killing, Marks composes his subjects with sensitive artistry. Notes add information and provide details about additional sources. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Over the course of the year, a pair of snow leopard cubs learn all they can from their mother, becoming ready for independence. Starting right after birth, these feline siblings learn about the world from their attentive mother, especially about hunting. From the first, the kittens learn the rules their mother teaches them: It's a dangerous world, leave a scent, be quiet and quick while hunting, guard your food, find shelter in a storm and stay clear of humans. The blood of the hunt is neither sensationalized nor minimized. Facts about snow leopards are interwoven through the story, and the illustrations help explain more esoteric animal words like markhor, ibex and pika. Pakistan's Hindu Kush Mountains are depicted in all their drama, bathed in watercolors of blue and white, from a number of points of view. The animals are rarely shown at rest--always moving to build up their muscles and learn the skills they need to live on their own. It is a temptation to anthropomorphize these felines, but Markle tells their story for the younger reader in a way that allows them to identify with their mutual paths to independence without overdoing that connection. Little human cubs will want to roll and cavort like these snow leopards--and learn more about them. (endnotes, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-7)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Two snow leopard cubs, born in a den high in Pakistan's Hindu Kush Mountains, are taught many lessons by their mother. Markle's simple, descriptive account moves along smoothly in an active voice. "In their smoky gray, black-spotted coats, the three snow leopards look like shadows slipping over rocks." Some readers may notice a bit of disconnect here as Marks's large, handsome watercolors of the cats depict them as beige with muted spots of brown and varied tones of gray to black. The soft hues of the animals and their white, gray, and blue environment are compelling. Marks adeptly conveys the muscular energy of the leopards in their rough-and-tumble play and their failed and successful encounters with other creatures. Shifting light through storms, drifted snow, and night lends variety to the terrain. The heart of the book is the killing of other animals in order to eat and survive, depicted in art and text as a matter-of-fact part of life. The tale ends with the male cub completing his lessons and making his first kill, enabling him to move on to life as a solitary hunter. Back matter includes a bit of explanation of physical features enabling the snow leopard's activity in the extreme environment and an author's note. There have been several attractive children's books on snow leopards in recent years, including Sy Montgomery's informative Saving the Ghost of the Mountain (Houghton Harcourt, 2009). This well-crafted introduction invites browsing and read-aloud enjoyment.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580894104
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
752,878
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Sandra Markle has written over seventy nonfiction books for young readers, including her Growing Up Wild and Outside and Inside series. Her books have won awards from the Boston Globe/Horn Book, NSTA/CBC, ABA, and ALA. She lives in Florida.

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