Thursday, January 01, 2009

'S No Time Like Snow Time: Snow Party by Harriet Ziefert

The snow had been falling all night long.

By morning a thick blanket of white covered the countryside.

It seemed as if nothing existed in the world but beautiful snow.

When the first snowfall comes on the longest night of the year, a magical thing happens in the snow-draped forest. Dozens of snow people appear, grown-ups, children, and even snow babies, setting to work briskly, decorating the bare tree limbs with lanterns, sweeping the pond for a dance floor, and setting up picnic tables for a snow feast--all under the silvery light of the full solstice moon.

Author Harriet Ziefert's work has long benefited from fortunate collaborations with outstanding artists. Her wonderful post-World War II Christmas story, A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books), drew upon the peerless artistry of Anita Lobel to tell the story of a central European girl who has to wait a year for her much-needed new coat while her mother barters their remaining family treasures for a bag of wool and the work of a spinster, a weaver, and at last a tailor to bring the beautiful red coat into reality just in time for Christmas.

The simple text of Ziefert's latest, Snow Party, again comes alive through the illustrations of Mark Jones, whose moon-swept snow scenes glow with a silvery blue luminance. The snow people appear with red, gold, and green accessories--toboggan caps, capes, scarves, sweaters, and buntings for the babies--all of which add character to their simple snowman shapes. Jones' opening illustrations of the woods filling up with snow under a full moon are done in beautiful blue tones against which the gray and black trees and frozen lake shine with a dark light. The entire book is a stunner, from the silver embossed title and snowflakes on the cover to the marbleized endpapers of twilight blue.

It is enough to make even the most determined winter-phobics appreciate the scene, as the snow people, costumed in Viennese masques, waltz on the glittering pond, toast the winter solstice with their flutes held high, and toss the snow babies in their snug blankets high in the frosty air. Pair this one with Caralyn and Mark Buehner's jolly snowfolk story, Snowmen at Night (Book and Audio CD) (Paperback), add a bowl of homemade snow ice cream, and have your own snow day celebration.



Post a Comment

<< Home