Snow by Cynthia Rylant

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

My daughter and I are huge fans of Cynthia Rylant’s works. The author always presents such lyrical, gorgeous prose in her children’s literature (particularly in her Scarecrow book, which is my absolute favorite) and, coupled with such lovely illustrations by Lauren Stringer, they create the most lovely books you’ll ever come across for kids.

Recently we read her book Snow in honor of winter. It is no different than her other books in that it feels as if you are not reading a picture book but an actual poem—or a creative visualization, a magical journey inside your mind. The artwork is really a bonus. The snow is compared to a shy friend bringing one peace, sitting beneath a leafless tree in the front yard as you sleep.

The joy of snow’s gifts, from missing school or work—again, making it a timeless book to be enjoyed by both children and adults!—or simply playing in it, is also explored. Watching the snowflakes fall lightly, seeing winter birds nip in the white flakes, or just cuddling with a loved one and a good book are all winter time joys that can be found out of a single evening of snow. The power of the white fluff, from making trees bend to causing cats to curl up in response to the cold, is also explored.

It is usually hard to put into words the magic that is snow. We know that it affects life immediately as it presents itself in our lives each year, but it’s still sort of mysterious. When will it happen? How much will we get? Will it be dangerous, or a playful dusting? Will we need a ruler? And there is always the first bowl of snow in our house, which we take inside and eat, giggling with one another. I hope we’ll always have this cherished tradition no matter how old my daughter gets.

Perhaps the most delight in the season is portrayed by the children in the book as they rapturously roll down hills, squeal in the snow, and eagerly don thick, heavy outdoor clothing in order to experience the joy that is powdery snow in person. The very beauty of the world itself is conveyed through Rylant’s words and Stringer’s art, making you sigh with pleasure as you finish the book—as if it were a warm cup of cocoa on a snowy day.