Why is the Snow White?


This whimsically illustrated tale celebrates the whiteness of snow and the sweetness of sharing. All of nature refuses to share their colors with Lord Winter, except the tiny Snowdrop flower. Cloaked in white, the snow covers the village in pure beauty.

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This whimsically illustrated tale celebrates the whiteness of snow and the sweetness of sharing. All of nature refuses to share their colors with Lord Winter, except the tiny Snowdrop flower. Cloaked in white, the snow covers the village in pure beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Following the cadence of a soothing pattern book, this story's strength is its story-within-a-story structure. A girl and her father sit in a deep bay window under a warm blanket and watch the snow falling. She asks her father to tell her a "window fairy tale." Readers in turn visualize their special story places. "Do you know why the snow is white?" the father begins, and his daughter "snuggles down and draws her toes in beneath the blanket." The quiet excitement of burrowing into a long tale is priceless. It turns out that Father Snow wasn't always white. He started out colorless in a meadow of beautiful, colorful flowers. Indeed, the illustrations render him as just a pencil sketch with a long beard and snowflakes in his pockets. Small and slight in stature among the looming flowers, loud and lovely in mixed media of gouache, watercolor, collage and stamps, he first asks the violets if he can have some of their color. They exclaim how pretty violet snow would be, but in the end covet their color, "But I…I need my color." All the other flowers follow suit until he meets the snowdrop, who is finally willing to share. An exalting transformation is described, but not shown sufficiently in the illustrations. Nevertheless, the implicit question of whether we have enough to share is timely and relevant. The cyclical ending invites all readers to create their own story of why the snow is white.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
A pourquoi tale about how Father Snow sought colors for the snow from the flowers is fodder for a father's winter bedtime tale. Once, the snow was clear and colorless, but a meadow of brilliant flowers leads Father Snow to wonder what colored snow might be like. The violet is willing to lend him some of her color, but just as the snow starts to turn purple, she grabs her hue back: "But I…I need my color." He gets the same reaction from the yellow sunflower, the red rose, the green blade of grass, the blue cornflower and many other brightly colored flowers. Finally, he queries one last flower, white with tiny bells, and the snowdrop grants the snow her white color. Didacticism runs rampant through Janisch's translated text, seen most clearly in the adverbs: The flowers all snatch their colors back hastily, impetuously, bitterly, carelessly. But what makes it so confusing is that Leffler's illustrations never make it clear what the flowers are so afraid of--their unexpected and uncalled-for rudeness seems both out of place and over the top, since they are never portrayed as colorless, even while Father Snow tests out their colors. Her flowers have an old-fashioned color and style to them, and Father Snow is a transparent outline that takes on the color of the anthropomorphized bloom he is speaking to. Humorless and illogical. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735840928
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Heinz Janisch was born in Austria in 1960 and studied German literature in Vienna. He has published numerous books, including many children's titles, which have been translated into more than twelve languages. He was nominated for the 2009 Lindgren Memorial Award and has been nominated for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award. in 2008 he received the Austrian Picture Book Award. He lives in Vienna.
Silke Leffler was born in Austria. She studied textile design and worked for a design studio in England. Since 1996, she has worked as a freelance textile designer and children’s books.

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