snow had fallen, snow on snow

We’ve had a good start to winter here in Minnesota with a snowy Thanksgiving and blizzards of snow up on the glorious North Shore.

It’s high time to get the hot chocolate steaming and snuggle up with stories celebrating this precious season. Today I’ve got a four-foot drift of  gorgeous, well-crafted, paeans to all things frosty.

wintercake cover

Wintercake, written and illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins
published in 2019 by Greenwillow Books, Harper Kids

Über-talented Lynne Rae Perkins is a brilliant story-spinner with a knack for crafting quirky, honest characters and illustrations that warm and cheer.

wintercake Lynne Rae Perkins

Few winter picture books feature a story arc as developed as this, most relying instead on standard fun-in-the-snow activity. Here we meet Thomas, a woodland fellow at his wits’ end because his basket of lovely dried fruit has gone missing, meaning — Egads! — no wintercake!  And what is Winter’s Eve without wintercake, I ask you?

wintercake2 Lynne Rae Perkins

Thomas’s friend Lucy overhears just enough of a conversation at the local Tea Room to pin the blame on an innocent stranger. When the truth comes out, a warm solution brimming with kindness and community evolves. Studded with humor, rich language, clever use of speech bubbles, and resonant color, it’s a joy to share with seasoned listeners ages 4 and up.

the shortest day cover

The Shortest Day, written by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis
published in 2019 by Candlewick

I’ve been anticipating a stunning piece of work from Carson Ellis since I first heard about this book and of course she’s brought us something none of us could have dreamed up ourselves.

the shortest day Carson Elllis

Susan Cooper’s poem dates back to 1974. Its brief, evocative lines describe the way northern peoples have marked the winter solstice and the beginning of Yuletide for thousands of years, using light to symbolically drive out the darkness that peaks on that day.

by Carlson Ellis

Ellis’s masterful illustrations capture the ancient and mythical past as well as contemporary, playful joy; chill, bleak darkness, and radiant, heartwarming light. It’s a phenomenal book that will undoubtedly make its way into annual holiday readings. Ages 4 to adult.

when winter comes cover

When Winter Comes, written by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Susan Gaber
published in 2000 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Here’s a title almost 20 years old that I’ve been meaning to include in my winter posts for years.

when winter comes Van Laan and Gaber

A series of questions asks what becomes of nature’s small members — leaves, flowers, caterpillars, field mice —  when winter comes. Gentle, brief rhythmic responses follow. The illustrations which highlight one little family on just such a winter-windy, snow-falling day, soothe with velvet softness, largesse, comfort. Perfect bedtime read for ages 2 and up.

croc & turtle cover

Croc & Turtle: Snow Fun!, written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
published in 2019 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

For those who prefer their winter stories full of action and humor, here come Croc and Turtle, best buds who could not be more opposite in the ways they like to spend a snowy day. Turtle likes indoor fun; Croc thrills to the out-of-doors.

croc & turtle Wohnoutka

As they’re such good friends, they really do try to take turns and join in one another’s ideas of a good time. Alas, this does not really work so well. In the end, though, they come up with a slam-bang solution. It’s one that my family has enjoyed a number of times over the years!

croc & turtle2 Wohnoutka

A blast from a Minnesota author/illustrator — hurray! — for ages 3 and up.

little fox in the snow cover

Little Fox in the Snow, written by Jonathan London, illustrated by Daniel Miyares
published in 2018 by Candlewick

No talking animals here. Instead we’ve got the drama, artistry, and realism of nature unfolding before us.

little fox in the snow London and Miyares

This exquisite book provides us with a front row seat to one small foxling’s day hunting for food in a snowy wood.  London’s text knits our heart to the fate of this fox so much, that even when he captures that little mouse and a snowshoe hare, we softhearted ones are still glad.

little fox in the snow2 London and Miyares

Miyares’ fabulous illustrations capture the hush of the forest, the lithe gambol of the fox, the ferocity of a wolverine. Gorgeous piece of nature lore for ages 4 and up.

my winter city cover

My Winter City, written by James Gladstone, pictures by Gary Clement
published in 2019 by Groundwood Books

I’m always glad to see the rare winter book in an urban setting. This one is set in Toronto, a bustling, diverse metropolis.

my winter city Gladstone and Clement

The brief text describes in strong, concrete language, just how a snowy city looks, moves, feels, sounds, tastes. Meanwhile, Clement’s lively artwork dominates the pages with marvelously apt displays of bundled up folks, slush-spraying buses, snow-studded skylines.

my winter city2 Gladstone and Clement

It’s a superb portrait that many readers will easily relate to. Ages 4 to adult.

some snow is cover

Some Snow Is…, written by Ellen Yeomans, illustrated by Andrea Offermann
published in 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

It’s a cinch to know when an author has Actual Real Life Snow Experience or they are just romanticizing about snow. Yeomans has definitely got snow cred as she jauntily describes the many different kinds of snow experienced over the course of a winter.

some snow is Yeomans and Offermann

From early snow that just melts as it hits the ground to the wispy stuff that floofs on the breeze, sticky snowball snow and copious snow day snow, this perky, rhyming catalog hits ’em all. Offerman, likewise, knows just how to portray each variety.

some snow is2 Yeomans and Offermann

It’s a merry book, especially fine for kids who know their snow, ages 4 and up.

penny and her sled cover

Penny and Her Sled, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
published in 2019 by Greenwillow Books, Harper Kids

I fell in love with Penny in her first three outings with us. Here she is with a brand new red sled and…no snow. Waiting for snow can be such a heartaching business!

penny and her sled Kevin Henkes

Watch Penny cope with the anticipation, disappointment, and surprise of snowfall in this brilliant addition to Henkes’ early reader series. Excellent choice for new readers or reading aloud to small snow-lovers ages 3 and up.

a day for skating cover

A Day for Skating, written by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Madeline Valentine
published in 2019 by Candlewick

It’s a funny thing that as prolific as winter picture books are, not so many of them focus on ice skating. For those of us who have long-loved gliding on ice and whose children expended their copious energy playing pond hockey and dreaming of becoming Olympic figure skaters, this is a deficit we feel!

a day for skating Sullivan and Valentine

Here’s a gladsome book just for skating fans, complete with authentic details of frozen toes, pratfalls, and the liquid blue quality of winter air.  Short and happy for ages 3 and up.

one snowy morning cover

One Snowy Morning, written by Kevin Tseng, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
published in 2019 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Finally, this funny, clever story starring a crew of woodland friends and one curious newcomer to the area, a rounded pile of snow stuck full of the most outlandish things! What could they be?

one snowy morning Tseng and Wulfekotte

I loved their witty redefinitions of snowman paraphernalia and the warm, surprise ending to this highly original story. Great choice for ages 3 and up.

Find heaps more fantastic reads from my 10 years of blogging in my Winter Stories list here.