celebrate winter’s arrival with a flurry of frosty books

photo by Lou Walters

North Shore light house, taken by my cousin, Lou Walters.

Winter arrives tomorrow, and I’m hoping it blows in with yardfuls of snow and nose-nipping cold!! Because I love winter!  And here in Minneapolis we’ve had none if it yet.

Even if you don’t share my enthusiasm for the season, you’ll love these sparkling winter stories, all well-suited to the youngest of book-lovers:

toys meet snow cover imageToys Meet Snow, by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
published in 2015 by Schwartz & Wade Books

The subtitle for this book reads “being the wintertime adventures of a curious stuffed buffalo, a sensitive plush stingray, and a book-loving rubber ball.” Sounds like the line-up for a Pixar film!

This unlikely trio belongs to a little gal away on vacation. That means they’re home alone for the first snowfall. Left to their own devices, they set out to explore this fluffy white stuff. It takes teamwork just to make it out the door…

toys meet snow interior jenkins and zelinsky

…then creative thinking to figure out what snow is and how to properly enjoy it. A good time is had by all.

The three vivid personalities of these toys bring delightful punch to this simple story, while Zelinsky’s brilliant illustrations exude both warm camaraderie and sparkly, wintertime beauty. Jolly fun for ages 2 and up.

snow cover image Snow, written and illustrated by Sam Usher
first U.S. edition 2015 by Templar Books, Candlewick

Coming from the UK is this total delight, a magical combination of pristine and riotously imaginative.

A fresh snowfall has blanketed the world and if you’ve ever wondered how that feels, I point you to this one, miraculous spread:

snow interior2 sam usher

That perfect, hushed, crystalline foreverness stretched across the world. 

The little boy in this story is antsy as all get out to be the first one in the neighborhood to trek sumptuously through the milky smoothness. BUT he’s got to wait for Granddad, and Granddad has not one hurry-up bone in his body.

snow interior1 sam usher

In a series of pages that magnificently capture the withering nature of waiting, this little guy watches the entire world, seemingly, traipse through the snowfield ahead of him. 

snow interior3 sam usher

Astonishingly, when he and Granddad do finally arrive at the local snow-playground, they have not missed out on a speck of fun. In fact, there’s an extremely surprising crowd gathered there, and Granddad, turns out, is a rare good sport, adding merrily to the mayhem.

Sam Usher is a new illustrator to me but oh, I went on his website and oh-oh-oh I want his book Refuge.

refuge cover image

Currently I can buy it for $67 from some third party on Amazon so that is not happening, but if the picture book gods are listening — please bring this book to America. Thank you. Meanwhile, share Snow with ages 2 and up.

supertruck cover imageSupertruck, written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
published in 2015; a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s supertruck!

On an average day in the city, the plain-and-simple garbage truck with his nerdy spectacles humbly goes about his business, while the flashy trucks nab the gritty and glamorous roles.

supertruck interior stephen savage

But when a blizzard socks in the city with snow, he sneaks into an obscure garage and emerges with a new identity! Watch him clear streets in a single bound! Heroic, conspiratorial, gobs of fun for Under-two and up.

no yet yet cover imageNo Yeti Yet, written and illustrated by Mary Ann Fraser
published in 2015 by Peter Pauper Press, Inc.

Snow blankets the universe. Icicles fringe the barn. Wind swirls eddies of snow into the air. It’s a perfect day for a yeti hunt.

Two siblings bundle up, grab a camera to document their discovery, and head out into the great outdoors, careening down icy hills, pushing through blustery winds, zinging across frozen ponds, tiptoeing into blue-frosted caves.

Everywhere, their eagle eyes search for a yeti, but not a one do they spot.

no yeti yet interior mary ann fraser

However. You are probably a more alert sort of person and therefore you might just spot that yeti lurking in every scene!

When hunters and hunted finally do come face to face…Yikes! And Skedaddle! This raucous, happy tale is a bit like Round Two of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Fabulously high-spirited fun for ages 2 and up.

bear and hare snow cover imageBear & Hare: Snow!, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
originally published 2014 in Great Britain; published in the U.S. in 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Bear & Hare are two great pals whom we’ve met before on a fishing expedition. Fiascos seem to dog their steps but in the end their warm friendship wins the day.

bear and hare snow interior emily gravett

This time, the snow is falling and Hare is elated. Hare loves snow! Bear…not so much. Dear Bear gives it the old college try, but snow just doesn’t seem to suit him. Until…he finally finds his perfect snow activity.

Minimal text and Emily Gravett’s enthusiastic illustrations, bounding with personality, humor, and happiness make a warm-as-cocoa story for ages Under-Two and up.

secrets of winter cover imageSecrets of Winter, by Carron Brown & Georgina Tee, illustrated by Bee Johnson
published in 2015 by Kane Miller

This is one of a tantalizing series of books called Shine-A-Light books. Arm yourselves with a flashlight and a darkish spot to snuggle in — under the blankets perhaps, or in a room lit only by the Christmas tree.

The simple text walks us through the woods looking for wildlife on a snowy evening. It’s a bustling place, winter birds winging towards shelter, red squirrels peeking into hollows, fish swimming under ice, deer browsing on evergreens.

The magic happens when you shine a light from behind the page to reveal hidden animals. Wow! So thrilling to discover who is sleeping under rocks, hiding amongst ivy, or tucked behind snowdrifts. 

Here’s a picture of how the page looks without the flashlight…

I found these images at thelionisabookworm at blogspot

I found these images at thelionisabookworm at blogspot

…and voila! the same page with light revealing the bunny. 

secrets of winter interior2 brown, tee, and johnson from thelionisabookworm at blogspot

End pages tell a little more about the tricky ways animals cope with the cold days and nights of winter. A blast for ages 2 and up. 

little red gliding hood cover imageLittle Red Gliding Hood, by Tara Lazar, pictures by Troy Cummings
published in 2015 by Random House

Children who know their fairy tales and nursery rhymes will love this wintery mash-up starring gobs of familiar friends. The opening page whirls us directly into a snowy Candyland forest, with Little Red gliding along the curving, frozen river past gingerbread cottages, towering beanstalks, and Rapunzel’s tower. 

little red gilding hood interior lazar and cummings

Red’s skates are a bit worn out, so she’s highly motivated to win the upcoming Pairs Skating Competition with its prize of Brand-New Skates. But who will be her partner? Everyone seems paired off already except — uh oh — the Big Bad Wolf. Fun and jolly, with candy-colored, immensely kid-friendly illustrations. Ages 4 and up.

And  a happy first day of winter to one and all!