Review: Stopping by Woods

Poem by Robert Frost
Illustrator:  Susan Jeffers

This is a beautiful book for your home library.

One of my Christmas decoration boxes is filled with Christmas and winter themed books.   (Living in Florida, I have to force the idea of a “White Christmas”.)   Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a perfect book to share with your children on a January night, no matter the temperature outside.  This poem is a classic and worthy of reading and memorizing; Susan Jeffers’ illustrations bring Frost’s poem to life.

Each page has only a line or two which makes this book just right for early readers.  The driver of the sleigh has a beard, a little round belly, and is dressed in clothes Santa might wear on his day off.  Your child will enjoy finding the animals hidden in the woods.  (Several are white and hiding in the snow.)   This is the perfect book to give as a hostess gift, especially to other parents who might enjoy sharing it with their children!

From Susan Jeffers:

The first part of my work is to find a story that inspires pictures in me.  It is like being a dancer and having to wait for the music to move your feet.  Everything comes from this.

I enjoy researching books like Hiawatha so much that I have trouble extricating myself from old photos and first person diaries of being captured by Indians, which are of course more stories.

For the most part I work in pen and ink and gauche, an opaque watercolor.  I make thousands of little lines with a fine pen to describe the forms.  This looks hard, but it is actually the easiest part and is very relaxing.  The most difficult part for me is telling the story with the right relationship of composition and characters to convey the emotion of the story.  This requires making many little drawings, called thumbnail sketches, until the drawing says what you want it to say, hopefully. 

Susan Jeffer’s “How to Draw a Horse” activity page.   (Something to do if you find yourself snowed in with littles….)

Deni Corbett

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