Willow and the Snow Day Dance

Overview

Mr. Larch is not a very neighborly neighbor. He never has any visitors. His gray, gloomy house never has any decorations. He avoids everyone and everyone avoids him. But now Mr. Larch has a new neighbor. Willow and her family have moved into the bright yellow house directly across the street. Willow loves her new house and neighborhood. She loves the summer and planting her garden. She loves the fall and sharing vegetables with her neighbors. And when winter arrives, she loves that, too. She can't wait for the ...
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Willow and the Snow Day Dance

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Overview

Mr. Larch is not a very neighborly neighbor. He never has any visitors. His gray, gloomy house never has any decorations. He avoids everyone and everyone avoids him. But now Mr. Larch has a new neighbor. Willow and her family have moved into the bright yellow house directly across the street. Willow loves her new house and neighborhood. She loves the summer and planting her garden. She loves the fall and sharing vegetables with her neighbors. And when winter arrives, she loves that, too. She can't wait for the first snowfall because she has found the perfect hill for sledding. And it's right behind Mr. Larch's house. Can Willow melt his cold heart in time to enjoy a Snow Day? Denise Brennan-Nelson's books with Sleeping Bear Press include the Likes to Say series, Someday Is Not a Day of the Week, and Buzzy the bumblebee. As a national speaker, she travels the country sharing her reading and writing enthusiasm with schoolchildren and teachers. Denise lives in Howell, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, and newspaper and magazine articles. In addition to Willow, Cyd is the illustrator of more than 35 books, including the Stinky Face series. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this feel-good follow-up to Willow (2008), the vivacious girl moves into a new neighborhood, across the street from an unsmiling loner. Mr. Larch only communicates through signs he posts in winter "that made it clear to the neighborhood kids there would be no sledding on his hill." Brimming with details, Moore's cheerful pictures capture Willow's outsize personality as, with Pollyanna-like enthusiasm, she launches projects that bring the neighborhood together. She asks for donations of seeds to plant a garden and, when it blooms, brings bouquets to her neighbors, "even Mr. Larch." She then gives vegetables away to those donating mittens and hats to her school's charity drive. After she distributes letters asking for wintertime assistance ("I'm in need of snow! Can you help?"), one anonymous response provides whimsical instructions for encouraging snow to fall. The story is on the oversweet side (the lack of snow is Willow's sole problem), and Moore provides a few visual hints that Willow's actions are having a warming effect on Mr. Larch. When snow arrives, he is the first one to sled down his hill. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
The story opens with a description of Mr. Larch's lonely life and his lack of interest in his garden, his neighbors, or any seasonal activities. He even posts signs on his perfect-for-sledding-hill warning everyone to "keep off" and "go away." The cheerful watercolor illustrations portray the seasons and their decorations passing by Mr. Larch's house, known locally as "The Cave." When irrepressible Willow moves across the street from the Cave, her sunny disposition is obvious. Delighted with enough room to start a garden, Willow sends colorful letters to each of her neighbors asking for help getting started with seedlings or seeds. The response is such that her yard becomes a luscious garden, that brightens the entire street and gives everyone pleasure for having shared. Willow organizes a collection of "hats and mittens" for her school's charity drive and rewards participants with vegetables from her garden. Sharp observers will notice that Mr. Larch makes a donation and receives his own share of the harvest's bounty. Willow sends letters and notes to all of the neighbors and manages to provide a shining example of how neighborliness changes everyone. Winter's approach makes Willow want to have a giant sledding event but the weather refuses to cooperate. Willow delivers yet another note: "I'm in need of snow! Can you help?" The picture of Mr. Larch reading the note shows a hint of a smile on his lips. Willow receives a response in the form of a letter with instructions for "The Snow Day Dance." She passes out copies of the instructions (which include wearing pajamas inside out and backwards AND dancing wildly on one's bed). The double spread of all of the neighbors cavorting on their beds includes Mr. Larch in one corner. Then the next morning the entire neighborhood is covered in snow and decorated with cheerful snow people and a big message made from snowballs "Snow Day." Mr. Larch stands waiting at the top of his hill, ready to lead the sledding. This title covers so many things that teachers can employ in a classroom setting that the list could read like a basic curriculum: sequences in nature, weather, seasonal activities, recycling, predicting outcomes, having faith in people is important, generosity makes everyone feel good, writing letters can change attitudes and actions, observing others can provide inspiration, being a role model is essential (and can be contagious) and so forth. . .all of this wrapped in appealing illustrations. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The girl with the "Pollyanna-can-do" attitude introduced in Willow (Sleeping Bear, 2008) returns in this picture book. New in a neighborhood inhabited by dour and off-putting Mr. Larch, she blithely settles in, asking neighbors for seedlings for her garden, sharing its produce, soliciting donations for the school's hat-and-mitten drive and, finally, during a warm winter, asking for her neighbors' help in getting snow. She receives an anonymous note in return, with a series of silly instructions that she is asked to share widely to get results. Sure enough, the next forecast for snow results in children and adults dancing, taping pennies to doors, and wearing pajamas inside out and backwards as they hope for some precipitation. The next morning dawns to a snow day, and a now-smiling Mr. Larch is revealed as the man behind the note. The bright watercolor and pencil illustrations echo the mood of the upbeat, wiggly-haired protagonist. This longish story can be shared one-on-one or read independently. Kids will find inspiration in their own power to make changes after reading about the resilient Willow.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585365227
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 11/21/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,001,767
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Denise Brennan-Nelson's books with Sleeping Bear Press include the Likes to Say series, Someday Is Not a Day of the Week, and Buzzy the bumblebee. As a national speaker, she travels the country sharing her reading and writing enthusiasm with schoolchildren and teachers. Denise lives in Howell, Michigan.

Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, and newspaper and magazine articles. In addition to Willow, Cyd is the illustrator of more than 35 books, including the Stinky Face series. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

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