When we took the Christmas tree down after Epiphany, Will asked, “Is Christmas over now?”
The husband responded, “Yup. Now it’s just winter. Just cold and dark and miserable.”
Will didn’t quite get the joke, and I was unamused because I’m not a huge fan of winter. Or a fan at all.
However! We found some great new winter picture books that we’re loving. There’s nothing that tempts me to spend obscene amounts of money like beautiful children’s books. The illustrations in these make you think winter is lovely and beautiful and clean and crisp instead of cold and dark and requiring one to wrestle small children in and out of outerwear 17 times per day.
But, I digress. On to the books! The first five are new(ish) releases. The last two are old favorites.
- Love Matters Most by Mij Kelly & Gerry Turley
Just the sweetest story of a mother bear wandering in search of something. She walks through a captivating landscape, encountering scenes of natural beauty. The reader wonders what exactly the bear is searching for on this cold night, and at the end, the mother bear finds her little lost cub.
I am a sucker for fiction that teaches bigger truths through the story. Not in a didactic, preachy way, but in a this-is-an-awesome-story-and-then-I-saw-the-bigger-picture kind of way. I love that this story is about the devoted love of a mother bear, searching for her baby. It affirms the value of love above all else, even other good things, and depicts love as faithful and persistent.
2. Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Peggy Lee
The text to this one is the lyrics to the well known song. The bright, endearing collaged illustrations show a family of five walking, well, through a winter wonderland (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and doing the kinds of things we sentimentally envision ourselves doing. Snowball fights, tobogganing, snowman building. A Norman Rockwell family outing. (Because fighting about wearing mittens and wiping running noses and answering 87 questions about the lack of availability of snacks makes for a less appealing picture book.) Will sang the song as I read, which was super sweet.
3. The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
Charles sets off to find a wish tree with his trusty friend, Boggan (the toboggan). They search and search but can’t find the wish tree. They do find a variety of animal friends, all of whom they work together to help. Eventually, Charles finds the wish tree with the help of Boggan and their animal friends. His wish is fulfilled in a way that celebrates his journey to the wish tree. The vintagey feeling illustrations remind me of the animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie I used to watch as a kid.
4. A Dot in the Snow by Corrinne Averiss & Fiona Woodcock
Miki the polar bear doesn’t want to fish with his mother. He’s afraid of diving into the cold water. He ambles off and meets a new friend, a little girl. When Miki’s friend loses her mitten, he summons his courage to help her. Lovely, charming illustrations that bring out playful, frightening (but not overly so), and affectionate moods.
5. The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler
The Little Snowplow is mocked by the bigger trucks, who lament the retirement of his predecessor. They’re sure that he won’t be able to pull his own weight and they’ll have to pitch in to help him get the job done, come winter. The Little Snowplow is determined though, and he works diligently to make sure he’s prepared for winter. When the big storm hits, the Little Snowplow is ready, and the big trucks get a big surprise when he saves the day. Will especially loves this one since there’s a (human) character named Will. I really like the trucks’ “facial” expressions and the depictions of the snowy mountain town.
6. Snow by Uri Shulevitz
This is a short one with only spare use of words, but there’s something captivating about it. Will asks for it as a bedtime story regularly. A little boy and his dog ignore the certainty of the adults that there won’t be snow, and delight in the magic of a snowfall, along with some Mother Goose characters that leap off the front of a bookstore. The city square and storefronts are very European feeling and it’s just all around charming and delightful.
7. White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt
This is an older classic, first published in the 1940s. It perfectly captures the mood of an impending snowstorm, the feeling as the snow finally begins to fall, and the quiet, blanketing effect of a thick layer of snow on the ground. The watercolor illustrations are the originals and I just adore them.
I’d love to to hear about any great wintery book finds you’ve had recently!
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