Book Review: White Snow, Bright Snow

Rating: ★★★★☆

Alvin Tresselt has a gift for describing natural phenomena in a way that is easy for children to understand.  This story opens with three poetic stanzas giving tribute to a snowfall, then proceeds into a story in which  a 1940′s small town  experiences a snowfall.  Each of the four grownups in the story attends to adult activities to prepare for the snow, but the children anticipate it gleefully, waiting for the magic of snow which means an instant holiday.  While the adults man shovels, catch colds, and fall into snowbanks, the children build snowmen and snow forts and have a snowball fight.  As the story concludes, the weather warms and the children meet the first robin of Spring.

This pleasant story captures the experience of a small community’s winter, told in evocative, almost poetic prose.  Readers will identify with the gleeful children who get to play in the snow; but they will also have the chance view a snowfall through adult eyes.  While some of the story’s details (mustard plaster and street lamps) are time-delimited, the descriptions of ice and snow, and the kinds of games the children play, have a timeless appeal that is only augmented by the book’s nostalgic mood.

Like most picture books printed in the 1940′s, the book is illustrated using only four colors.  Some children may not appreciate the simple pictures, but the quality of the writing makes the book worth reading.

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Publication Information: Tresselt, Alvin. White Snow, Bright Snow. Duvoisin, Roger (Illustrator). Lothrop. 1947. ISBN: 0688082947.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08, Book Tree, Caldecott Medal, Honey For a Child's Heart
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Posted on December 19, 2009

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