Mary QuattlebaumSnow pulls kids outside. All that pristine whiteness! All that stuff for snowballs and sledding, tromping and romping. For making snow forts and snow angels. Or for standing in, very still, and listening to a world-muffled silence.

Snow (Harcourt, 2008, ages 3 to 7) captures the joy of snow-play. This is a fun read-aloud for families anticipating the first flake or snuggled in, with hot cocoa, after a romp.

In exploring the look of “fat cheerful flakes” and a “sparrow’s small feet,” author Cynthia Rylant hearkens back to her childhood in rural Appalachia. She reminds us to “take a walk and see how beautiful the world is….” This sentiment is reflected in Lauren Stringer’s acrylic paintings, with their swirling crystals, snow-topped trees, and boot-bedecked youngsters. In one sunset-washed picture, a little girl and her grandmother spot a shy fox. Another shows the aerial view of their home, lamp-lit and cozy in the midst of a storm.

During this gift-saturated holiday season, one of the most meaningful gifts, for you and your kids, might be a shared moment of wonder. Like the grandmother and the girl, you might indulge in some snow play, go for a walk–and return home to sip “something warm” and make pictures about a world transformed.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 15 award-winning children’s books, including Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns (Random House) and two chapter-book sequels, all set in a city community garden. Check for activities connected with Mary’s books.

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Published: December 24, 2008