Author/Illustrator: Barbara Reid
Publisher: Toronto, ON: North Winds Press (Scholastic), 2009.
Genre: Picture book, Fiction
Audience Age: 4-8
Themes/topics: Snow, cooperation
Opening Sentences: It came in the night. “Perfect!” said Scott. “SNOW!” said Jim.
Synopsis: Both Scott and Jim can hardly wait to get out in the snow. There’s still school, but that’s okay, they’re eager for recess. Scott has plans to create incredible snowmen. Jim can hardly wait to start building his “totally massive, indestructible Snow Fortress of Doom.”
At recess, the schoolyard is crowded with kids enjoying the snow. Scott’s snowmen don’t turn out the way he had hoped. Jim’s fort is not nearly as big as he wanted it to be.
At lunchtime, Scott and Jim get together. Soon they have all the kids involved in creating…
I’m not going to give it away, but I will tell you that after lunch, “the whole school smelled like wet boots.”
The author/illustrator, Canadian Barbara Reid, is renowned for her Plasticine illustrations. (Plasticine is a brand of modeling clay. Reid tells about it on her website, here.) Uncharacteristically, but to great effect, in this book she uses not only her trademark plasticine illustrations, but also pen and ink or watercolor illustration panels, similar to the format of a comic strip. These drawings further each boy’s story, often in parallel.
Activities/Resources: You can see the book trailer for Perfect Snow on Reid’s website.
In this video on Scholastic Canada’s website, Barbara Reid talks about developing this book, about the little guy (Scott) and the big guy (Jim) and how they react to things, and also about her art process.
Where kids have access to snow, there is no end to the fun they can have just out there playing. Building snowmen or forts, or other creative creatures (I once saw a Great Dane made out of snow, after a big snowfall.)
If there’s no snow, or if it’s just too cold and windy to be outside, as it has been often this winter where I live, bring the snow indoors – but not literally! Hands On As We Grow, a website with crafts, activities, and parenting tips, offers 32 snow-themed activities.
Availability: Readily available in hardcover.
Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”