Books that Inspire a Little Snow Adventure

 In Books

Our first step to enjoying books in the car

Ever since we got back from Whistler Dek has been obsessed with snow. He keeps asking where the mountain is, what happened to his snowman and why can’t we go ice skating every day? I needed to find something to tide him over until his next glimpse of snow. I turned to our local library.

I walked in with the MacMillan winter catalog and a list of books to check out. A few titles looked promising. Two ended up doing the trick.

Both books came with a copy of the book and a CD. As many of you already know, Dek is not the best car kid. He does OK on his own for a while but always needs a movie by the end of a long trip. I decided he was old enough to start listening to some audio books. We started out small.

Snow by Uri Shulevitz  (Ages 3-7. October 2004. ISBN# 9780374468620)

This 1999 Caldecott Honor Book was just up Dek’s alley. Like all Caldecott winners, the illustrations were the highlight. The text was simple and only enhanced the story of a boy who was convinced it was going to snow. When everyone else said it wouldn’t happen, he believed that one snowflake would turn into two and then three and then cover the European town he lived in. It just goes to show we should always listen to those younger than us. They have faith that something will happen and don’t lose sight of the excitement a little snow (or even a lot) can bring into our lives.

The lush illustrations could have held up in a frame on a wall. I was delighted to see the images progress from a grey, drab city into a winter wonderland with Mother Goose characters hopping off a storefront sign to join in the boy’s excitement. You knew his imagination was going wild with joy. The printed book was a success, now it was time to try out the audio version.

I popped in the CD, handed Dek the book to flip through and we headed out on a 20 minute drive to swim class. It didn’t take long for the CD to finish, but it kept Dek quiet the entire time. The narrator, George Guidall, spoke in a heavy Eastern European accent, bringing a sense of mystery and wonder into the story. Nothing was more captivating. Even I found myself listening along. This already beautiful story come to life in a whole new way that I could never replicate. We were transported to Eastern Europe. We were with that little boy frolicking in the snow.

It really helped that Dek and I had already read through the book together the night before. He was familiar with the story and could flip through the book looking at the illustrations. He did not keep up as the audio progressed, but he got to stare at images of snow till his heart’s content. Peace and quiet was accomplished. It was time to try a slightly longer book.

Brave Irene by William Steig (Ages 4-8. October 2011. ISBN# 9780312564223)

click image to listen to an audio clip

The story of Irene is almost that of a fairy tale. A brave little girl tries to help her sick mother by delivering a dress to the duchess on the other side of the mountain. Irene isn’t afraid of a little snow. She loves the snow. Old man winter tries to get the best of her though. He and his buddy the wind blow her this way and that, snatching at the box holding the precious dress. She is mocked and scorned by the snow she loves and yet she carries on. She has a job to do and must not disappoint.

This tale tackles courage and perseverance in an easy to understand way. Dek loved the almost comic strip style of the drawings and giggled with glee as the snow whipped around our heroine Irene. He could not have been more thrilled when she took a ride on the dress box. I knew he enjoyed the print version, but could he last through the audio book in the car?

Once again I popped the disc into the CD player on our way to swim class. I handed Dek the book and we took off. The audio version of Brave Irene was much more involved than Snow had been. While Snow was a simple, yet dramatic reading of a children’s book, Brave Irene, narrated by Lindsay Crouse, had music weaving in and out of the telling. A flute highlighted the wind whipping around Irene trying to snatch her box away, while other musical instruments added to the suspense of her long journey. Dek was enthralled. He didn’t flip through the book as much this time. He just enjoyed staring at the cover image with the snow on it. But he stayed quiet and calm in the car. We had another winner. We are now on the hunt for more books to take for a test drive.

Note: My opinions are my own. Although MacMillan Audio sent me a list of books in their catalog and are hosting this giveaway I am under no obligation to give a favorable review of any of their books.  Books are in my blood and we genuinely enjoyed these two books we read and borrowed from the library.   

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Showing 11 comments
  • Colleen Lanin

    My California kids (ages 3 & 6) love the snow too! Their first snow experience was nearly a year ago when we took both of them skiing and they STILL talk about snow. I hope we can take them back to the snow soon, but until then, these books would be great!

  • Sue

    🙁 I am giving this a big frown face….only cause I can’t participate. This is prejudice against all of us abroad living followers. However the book on tape is a great idea…. why didn’t I think of that. My peanut hates the car as well.

    • Reply

      I’m so sorry. I know it stinks. It’s purely for shipping purposes. If there was no book that came in the set I actually could open it up to international entries because a downloadable version could just be sent via email. I’ll work on this though. I know how many people are reading that live around the globe, one of my best friends included.

  • Jen

    Lily LOVES the snow…she’s seen a bunch of it over the past couple of years, mostly in whistler…and during the few snowstorms we’ve had. She loves to sled down the hill by our house. They always close our street to traffic because it’s a big hill. She loves to make snow angels! William will surely love the snow…once he can walk in it! His suit renders it impossible for him to bend his knees…making him faceplant over and over again. While I think it’s hilarious, he does not. I’m sure next year is his year! Can’t wait to get Lily on a snowboard next year in Whistler!

  • Nicole

    The biggest thrill with snow this year for my kids has been eating it! Trying to teach them the difference between clean snow and dirty snow has been a bit of a challenge though 😉 They love sledding and ‘snowboarding’ down the little hills. Snowman making was a big hit this year too!

  • Kimiko Nabors

    My kids (3 & 2) have a an old photo of themselves sitting in the snow in front of our house from last year, which they love to look at. So far this winter (outside Wash, DC) we have only seen flurries and dustings and haven’t even managed to take them out in it. The oldest one has her heart set on making a snowman. We’d love this book and cd, as we just discovered kiddie audio books on our last road trip – two weeks ago – 11-12 hours on the road in one day with 3yo, 2yo and 5wk old.

  • Jonnie (JB)

    Building snowmen, sledding, and snowball fights are all reasons we love the snow.

  • Heather Jarmusz

    Consider me entered! 🙂

  • Erin Preder

    I love the snow when it sparkles! It reminds me of my first date with my husband. <3

  • Lisa Wood

    Our boys love snow….they took about it all of the time – When are we going to the snow seasion? When we get there, we are going to build the biggest snow man you have ever seen, and then we are going to go skiing – plus have a snow fight.
    The list goes on and on…its all they can talk about! So I can understand how your little man would love the snow book!


  • Reply

    Congrats to Jen, the winner of the Brave Irene giveaway!

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