Until today, the only place I’ve been able to find any snow this winter is inside the pages of winter-themed picture books. Well . . . it’s finally snowing here, making this the perfect time for a warm fire, a cup of hot chocolate, and sharing this month’s picture book favorites with you. Enjoy!
“Red Sled” written and illustrated by Lita Judge (Copyright 2011, Athenium Books for Young Readers) uses pictures and descriptive words, such as the “scrunch, scrunch” sound that is made when walking in the snow, to present the story of a bear who borrows a child’s sled from outside a cabin and is soon joined by other curious woodland animals for an exciting winter’s night of sledding. Dual-page illustrations had me following along to see which woodland animals would be joining the ride next as I turned each page. The moonlit snow scenes are simply beautiful and the expression-filled faces of the animals having such a joyful time together had me laughing out loud. In the end, the bear and friends return the sled to its resting place outside the cabin, leaving only footprints in the snow for the child to find. Such a fun read!
“A Little Bit of Winter” written by Paul Stewart and illustrated by Chris Riddell (Copyright 1999, Harper Collins Publishers) is a story about two friends, Rabbit and Hedgehog, who are about to be separated for the winter. Rabbit will miss his friend, who doesn’t even know what winter feels like because he spends every winter sleeping. Hedgehog scratches a reminder into the bark of a tree asking Rabbit to save “a little bit of winter” to share with him when he wakes up. After a heavy snowfall, Rabbit leaves his warm burrow to look for food. Seeing Hedgehog’s reminder on the tree, he rolls a snowball, wrapping it in leaves “to keep the cold in” before taking it underground. When spring arrives and the two friends meet again, Rabbit unwraps the snowball, giving it to Hedgehog, who finally gets to experience the “hard, white, and cold” of winter as he holds “a little bit of winter” in his paws. The sweet illustrations are a joy from start to finish as Hedgehog receives two gifts from his friend, the coldness of winter snow and the warmth of an enduring friendship.
“Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color” written by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky and illustrated by Susan Swan (Copyright 2014, Albert Whitman and Company) is a rhyming story about a rainbow of colors made brighter against the backdrop of sugary white winter snow. Beginning with the view from a frosty window, each page-turn brings new colors into focus as a family takes a trip through the snow to visit a maple farm. The vivid details of this book’s impressive illustrations had me going back to take a second look.
“Winter is the Warmest Season” written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer (Copyright 2006, Harcourt, Inc.) displays some of the many contrasts between summer and winter to present the idea that winter truly is “the warmest season.” With examples that include snuggly warm winter clothes, wonderfully warm winter foods, the warmth of sitting by a fire, cuddled up with a good book and a warm pet, the warmth of friends and family sharing winter holidays, hot baths followed by warm pajamas, and warm beds topped with blankets and quilts. The book concludes with dreams of a summer swim, just to cool things off. This talented author/illustrator strikes a balance with colorful, happy illustrations that will have you smiling about the many ways that warmth can be found in this coldest of seasons.
If you have a favorite winter-themed picture book to recommend, I’d love to hear about it.
Happy New Year 😊