Monday, January 10, 2011

Some reading for a snowy week

On my frosty commute this morning, I recalled some favorite children's books appropriate for a snowy week:

  • Nothing says cold and deprivation like Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter," a chapter book based on the Ingalls family's experience during the 1880-81 winter in the Dakota territory. Food and coal supplies are dwindling and blizzards prevent new deliveries. Laura and her family spend weeks holed up in their tiny house.
  • One of my favorite childhood books, from way back in 1962: "Snowbound With Betsy" by Carolyn Haywood. When a blizzard hits the week before Christmas, Betsy and her family are snowbound for days, along with three stranded travelers. If you've never read Carolyn Haywood's books, you're in for a treat.
  • "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats was a Caldecott medal winner, and it's easy to see why. The story is simple: A boy wakes up to discover snow has fallen in the night. Keats' illustrations, using cut-outs, watercolors and collage, are masterful.
  • Adults may find the plot of "Katy and the Big Snow" a bit one-dimensional, but small children, particularly little boys, will adore Virginia Lee Burton's tale of a determined little snow plow named Katy who manages to clear the roads of an entire town. Katy, we could use you now.