Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The weather may be frightful, but these books are delightful

We're getting another snow storm?! Me and my cold toes refuse to believe it! This is the snowingest winter I've seen in a long time. Fortunately, we have armloads of wintry themed books, varying from ideas on how to make snow monsters to delightful stories to curl up around.

Snow Play: How to Make Forts & Slides & Winter Campfires (Plus the coolest Loch Ness Monster) by Birgitta Ralston. Even if you don't have a yard big enough for this book, go to your nearest park or playground to try out these snow monsters with LED eyes, frozen marble runs, slides and other projects in the snow. Each activity is rated for difficulty, duration, and the type of snow needed.

The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht is an accessible non-fiction exploration of the making of a snowflake. Libbrecht is a scientist who takes photographs of snowflakes and tries to grow his own "ice flowers" in his laboratory. The science here goes beyond the changing states of water and cloud development to why snow looks white and why, if you're looking at a flake through a microscope, you will only ever see six-branched or hexagonal patterns. The facts are accompanied by gorgeous enlarged photographs of snowflakes and helpful diagrams.

You may recognize the sweet and expressive style in Olivier Dunrea's Old Bear and His Cub: this same author/illustrator gives us the booted ducklings of Gossie & Gertie board books. Gruff as Old Bear may be, he loves Little Cub; and as stubborn as Little Cub may be, he Loves Old Bear, too. This endearing book is perfect for dads and grandpas to read for bedtime.

One of my perennial winter favorites is the Caldecott Honor Snow by Uri Shulevitz. One, two, three tiny snowflakes fall and melt in this cozy town, provoking a small boy and his dog to gleefully dance about, "Snow!" even as the adults dismiss its possibility. With such joyous rhymes as "But snow doesn't listen to radio,/snowflakes don't watch television./All snowflakes know is snow, snow, snow," you, too, will be infected with joyous, child-like wonder at "Snow!".

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