Book Review: The Big Snow

Rating: ★★★★☆

This is a beautiful story for the budding naturalist and the compassionate reader.  As winter looms, the woodland animals prepare for winter: rabbits grow thick coats, a groundhog prepares to hibernate, Mrs. Chipmunk and a wood rat retire to their winter stores, and many birds prepare to stay where they are.  When a great snow falls, the animals of the forest cannot find food.  But when an older couple scatter seeds, nuts, and bread crumbs outside their cottage, the animals throng around their home, finding enough to eat until the weather thaws.

The high point of the story is the kindness of the old couple.  While feeding local wildlife may not be wise in all situations, this simple story presents a picture of responsibility toward animals that reflects God’s command for people to subdue, fill and steward the earth (Genesis 1:28, Psalm 8:6). Although the animals in the story are anthropomorphized, for the most part they retain their habits and animal ways, making this a good choice for introducing young listeners to the characteristics of woodland animals.  The pages alternate between color and black-and-white drawings, printed in an old-fashioned style limited by 1940′s technology.  Still, the artwork is of good quality and the color pages pushed the limits of printing technology of that time.  The text is fairly heavy on descriptive detail, so it will be most interesting to children who really want to learn about the animals described.

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Publication Information: Hader, Berta and Elmer. Big Snow, The. Macmillan. 1948. ISBN: 0689717571.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08, Caldecott Medal,
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Posted on December 21, 2009

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