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December 2, 2010 Edition

Snow! Snow! Snow! written and illustrated by Lee Harper

This simple story of two pups, their dad, a sled, and a whole lot of snow will captivate its intended audience. After a long night of howling winds and swirling snow, two puppy siblings are excited to wake up and see the world covered in drifts of snow. After bundling them up for the weather, their daddy takes them on a hike to the best sledding hill, and together they fly through the air, finally landing with a whump! Little listeners will know what to say – “Again! Again!”

Carl’s Snowy Afternoon, written and illustrated by Alexandra Day

Carl the Rottweiler never seems to age, but his young charge, Madeleine is slowly growing up. Here, she’s left home with a sitter who’s glued to the TV, so she and Carl gear up for the snow and sneak out the doggie door for an afternoon of snowman building and swooshing down hills with the neighbors before sneaking a snack from a hot dog vendor and heading home just in time to be undiscovered. Mostly wordless as usual, the pictures tell the story (and so will your young listener!).

The Gingerbread Pirates, by Kristin Kladstrup, illustrated by Matt Tavares

On Christmas Eve, Jim and his mom make cookies for Santa – and not just any cookie, but pirate cookies. Jim’s favorite is Captain Cookie, who has a peg-leg and a cutlass, and he keeps him safely on his nightstand that night while the other pirate cookies go on a plate for Santa or into the cookie jar. Long after Jim has fallen asleep, Captain Cookie goes looking for his crew to save them from the scary Santa who wants to eat them. By the time they are reunited, Santa has arrived, and the pirates discover they have nothing to worry about and much to be delighted by!

The Longest Night, by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin

This is a poetic and lilting Solstice story of how the sun returns after the longest night of the year, when the snow is deep and still and cold and the animals are longing for brightness and warmth. Though the sharp-beaked raven, the digging fox, and the strong moose each claim to be the one who can bring the sun back, the wind sighs “no”. Finally, it is the tiny chickadee that sings the sun awake and the whole world rejoices. Lewin’s illustrations are all cold moonlit blues and purples in the beginning, but when the sun rises the forest is flooded with glowing pinks and yellows – exquisite.

Snow Play: How to make forts and slides and winter campfires plus the coolest Loch Ness monster, by Birgitta Ralston

Okay, this one is written for adults, but there’s plenty of snow out there as I write and I can’t resist letting everyone know about it. This is a great idea book for what to do when you don’t feel like sledding or the kids are too small for snowshoes and too big to carry – readers will see how to use a variety of molds (plastic bowls of different shapes and sizes) to create snow monsters, structures that glow with light from their enclosed candles, forts to play in, and snow slides to slide down. Ransack your kitchen (or a thrift store) for plastic “molds” and other supplies, bundle up, and head out to your back yard or your favorite clearing and start creating.

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