Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Snow Stroll: Walking in a Winter Wonderland Lyrics by Richard B. Smith as recorded by Peggy Lee

Sleigh bells ring--Are you listening?

In the lane,
Snow is glistening.

A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Three happy kids and their parents make the best of new-fallen snow, as they sally forth for a twilight stroll in this salute to winter, based on Peggy Lee's classic up-tempo ballad, Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Henry Holt and Company, 2016). With the original lyrics by Richard B, Smith, artist Tom Hopgood takes the song into a new medium, proffering lovely, impressionistic pastel and crayon illustrations on full-bleed double-page spreads, with the focus on family fun and woodland creatures. The artist sets his scenes in varied soft shades of blue, punctuated by bright touches of color in the children's winter garb, the red-orange fox, and the scattered accent of musical notes which remind us that these words are meant to be sung.

Foxes, squirrels, a snowy owl and several deer appear to go along as the wintry-wrapped kids throw some snowballs, take a turn sledding, and even share a warming campfire.

And of course, they build a snowman.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown.

As poet Robert Frost put it, the family happily "watches the woods fill up with snow," ending with the sight of a beautiful bare tree bedecked with silvery ice crystals against a black sky. As Kirkus Reviews sums it up, "Both text and pictures cohere into utter cheerfulness, sure to get anybody singing along."

Artist Hopgood is also the notable illustrator of What a Wonderful World, celebrating Louis Armstrong's famous song, and Wow! Said the Owl.

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