Snow or NO? Big Snow by Jonathan Bean
"MOM," SAID DAVID, "WHEN WILL IT SNOW?"
"I THINK SOON," SAID MOM.
"WHY DON'T YOU HELP MAKE COOKIES WHILE YOU WAIT?"
Christmas is not far away and Mom is getting ready for company, but David's mind is on the promise of snow. Outside the trees are almost bare, the clouds are lowering, and there's that hushed expectancy in the air. David gets out his red sled and looks at the sky, the houses on his street, the grass browned, the streets swept bare. It seems as if they, too, are waiting.
Back inside, it's warm and bright, and David tries to help Mom bake to fill the cookie jar, but the flour that he spills on the floor just reminds him of snow.
"MOM, DO YOU THINK IT WILL SNOW TALLER THAN THE GRASS?"
Mom says it could, cleans up the mess, and goes upstairs. David tries to help Mom spread fresh sheets on the bed in the guestroom, but the settling white top sheet reminds him of a clean blanket of new snow. Outside, he spots a few scattered flakes.
"MOM, DO YOU THINK THE SNOW WILL COVER EVERYTHING?"
Mom says it certainly might, straightens and tucks the sheet, and heads for the bathroom. She lets David spray the bubbly white tub cleaner while she scrubs. It's fun, but it only reminds him of snow once more. Mom wipes up, and he heads outside and sees that there is a little snow coming down, just sticking to the dead flower stalks.
There's no big snow yet, so Mom suggests that they have lunch and David agrees to just a little nap if he gets to sit in the big chair by the windows, but his dreams are big--A BIG SNOW which piles up higher than the windows, a snow that pushes the doors open and fills the living room with drifts, drifts so high that David tries to shove the doors shut to help, grabbing the snow shovel to clear the way, while his valiant Mom has to pull out the vacuum to suck the snow up.
A THUMP SHOOK THE HOUSE.
DAVID WOKE UP. THERE WAS STOMPING AT THE DOOR. IT WAS DAD, HOME FROM WORK EARLY!
Dad has come and so at last has the big snow. The snow is now deep and ready for David's sled, in Jonathan Bean's warm account of waiting for the first snow, Big Snow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013). Bean's evocative palette transforms from the yellows and browns of a neighborhood in late autumn to the gray, blue, and white magic of new snow at twilight, as the family ventures outside, hand in hand, to leave the first sled tracks down their street. Snow has its travails for grownups, but for preschoolers the wait for first snow has plenty of dramatic tension, worth the wait. Bean's slowly developing plot, contrasting the mundane housekeeping chores with the the boy's growing excitement, makes this snow story a great early winter read, along with the classic snow tales such as Keats' The Snowy Day and Brigg's The Snowman.
Publishers Weekly says Bean's "subtly rhythmic prose and elegant, astute watercolors hit just the right notes of comedy, suspense, and fantasy."