For anyone living in the greater Mid-Atlantic region1 we probably need do no more than post the book cover with no further comment:
And yet as a blog dedicated to both visual image and written word I should add my own boilerplate2. In The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats reminds why snow is one of the cardinal joys of childhood. If, as we like to imagine, childhood is an idyll – a time to play without inhibition and wander around aimlessly – then what better venue for this than a city snowed to a standstill? We open the book and read that
One morning Peter woke up and looked out the window. Snow had fallen during the night. It covered everything as far as he could see.
This, we find, is a great boon to Peter who promptly sets out to take full advantage of his situation. Clad in his snowsuit and mittens, the snowy world is his oyster:
But as all great literature must do, The Snowy Day, keeps us grounded – reminding us that all of childhood is not idyllic. Challenges abide, even for the young and carefree. To wit: young Peter sees some older boys engaged in combat3 using against each other the very matter that the beneficent sky gods have showered upon them. Upon quick evaluation Peter decides it’s best to steer clear of the older boys for now.
Instead he decides to stockpile some of this frozen manna for a warmer day:
Ah, the bittersweet optimism of youth. Of course the snow brought inside vanishes into a liquid pool, but oh what a ride we had while it was with us! I recommend a glance through The Snowy Day for all of us who view these mountains of snow through adult eyes. For those of us who dig, and dig, and dig, just to free our vehicles for the next day’s labor. For those of us who sigh at the thought of being cooped up inside with those we love4 for hours on end. For those of us faced with this:
But yearning to re-live this:
Happy reading, and stay warm!
1 Or, you know, watches CNN or the Weather Channel…
2 Come on folks, this is another Caldecott. These books should recommend themselves
3 Mortal Combat, one can only assume.
4 and who inevitably drive us nuts with extended time in close quarters.