Thursday, January 07, 2010

Swoosh! Snow! Snow! Snow! by Lee Harper

One night the wind howled.

And the snow fell

All night long!

The next morning...Surprise!

It was a perfect sledding day.

Two pup boys arise, get all togged up, and with their dutiful dad in tow, set out through the snow-filled woods toward the lake--to their destination, "where there is the best sledding hill in the whole wide world."

Piling three deep in belly flop-style in "a triple-decker sandwich," the three soar down in a glorious WHOOOSH, becoming fantastically airborne as they seem to escape earth's gravity itself. Separating from their falling sled with a disturbed "UH OH" from their befuddled dad, the delighted boys find themselves flying high with the geese, so high that the snow-covered earth below is but a patchwork of fields and roads.

But even in fanciful picture books,what goes up must come down, and the three finally fall to earth with a decided SPLOOMPH! landing amazingly atop their sled, with the breathless dad rendered speechless by the whole thing. The kids, however, do have something to say!


With wonderful full-bleed watercolor illustrations and a simple vocabulary of only 84 words accessible to the earliest of beginning readers, Lee Harper's Snow! Snow! Snow! (Simon & Schuster, 2009) is a great addition to the shelf of snow stories so popular in January. Harper's debut as an author here shows off his word choice and his considerable skills as an illustrator who can combine the comical look of both trepidation and derring-do on the dad's face as he trudges back up the hill for another run with lyrical paintings that capture the essence of a snow-filled landscape.

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