The SnowmanThe classic wordless storybook by Raymond Briggs has been re-released in beautiful sparkly hardback. It's hard to read this book without singing We're Walking in the Air, but earworm aside, it's simply stunning. Both my kids were totally entranced by it and the 3 year old's face when the Snowman came alive was a heart-warming look of absolute wonder.
When the Snowman flies into the air my nearly 2 year old's jaw dropped. He stared at the picture for a moment before stretching his arms up towards the ceiling with the most determined look on his face. I mean, seriously, the boy thought he might be able to fly if he tried. I could weep just thinking about that moment. Books are magic! Talking of weeping... spoiler alert... the Snowman melts at the end. I loved reading this with my little cherubs all snuggled up in their pyjamas but the tiny one's refrain of "where noman mummy?" actually broke my heart! (He can say S's he apparently chooses not to)
Get the sparkly hardback edition here (if you don't win it in my giveaway at the end of this post!).
This book was written in 1962 and was apparently ground breaking as "one of the first picture books for young children to portray a realistic multicultural urban setting". Cool ground-breaking claims aside, it's a brilliant book. It's the story of a boy playing in the snow. Don't you just love how that can be a story? The boys love the page with a snowball fight in, and the smiling snowman. My older boy was surprisingly clued up about snow, considering he's played in it for precisely 20 minutes in his entire life! He was concerned when Peter put snow in his pocket and knew it would melt. The little one's not so switched on and was upset when the snow had disappeared! He cries "OH NO! NO NO!" at that bit... which translates as "Oh no! No snow!".
The Snowy Day
Buy The Snowy Day here.
Secrets of WinterThis is a non-fiction book all about the animals and plants that live in a snow-covered forest. It's full of great facts about animals (my husband has been telling me them for days!) and has inspired many conversations about hibernation and camouflage with the 3 year old. It would be a pretty great book if that's all there was... but this book has an amazing magic ingredient.
It's a 'shine-a-light' book, which means that if you hold a torch up to the pages, you see hidden pictures. It's such a good idea and so much more exciting than 'lift the flap'. It has my toddler absolutely hooked and I've barely seen him without a torch in his hand for the past week. "What happens if I hold my torch to this Mummy?" ("Nothing dear, it's only the special book that your torch works on"!!!)
Secrets of Winter (and other shine-a-light books) are published by Ivy Press and available in good retailers and online stores.
Pip and Posy. The Snowy DayWe love Pip and Posy books, and have done ever since Anne Marie Duff read 'The Bedtime Frog' on CBeebies bedtime stories one time. In fact I still read Posy's voice the same way she did. All of the Pip and Posy's are great, with very 'real' storylines, in which Pip and Posy get upset about things, or do things they shouldn't which really resonate with my 3 year old. In the Snowy Day they have a fight and they're both in the wrong and they both say sorry and get over it (perhaps that's where the realism ends?). I love the way there are so few words but every story has such a clear and perfectly pitched moral. It goes without saying that Axel Scheffler's pictures are amazing.
Buy The Snowy Day here.
One Snowy NightThis might be in my top five of all children's books, winter or not. It's about Percy the Parkkeeper (who has lots of other great books, but this is the best one) and how all the animals in his park are too cold one snowy night and come into his hut to keep warm. It's delicious and heart warming, with some 'mild peril' and beautiful illustrations.
If you haven't read One Snowy Night and your child is aged between 18 months and 4 years, you need to pull yourself together. I mean, seriously, you've got to read it. If you like I will read it to your kids, I know it so well I could easily recite it down the phone, but then you'd miss the gorgeous images. Especially the page where all the animals are tucked up into little nooks and crannies. Our copy (bought only last year, although it feels like it's been a part of our lives for a decade) came with a poster with that amazing illustration in. My husband threw it away and I shall NEVER forgive him. If anyone has a poster of that picture please sell it to me!
Buy One Snowy Night here. No, really, do.
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I was sent The Snowman and Secrets of Winter for the purposes of this review. The others were already part of our collection.