Snow Dance

Author:  Lezlie Evans
Illustrator:  Cynthia Jabar

How do I find a great book?  Oh so many ways…  Usually I walk into an out-of-the-way independent bookstore or gift shop with children’s books, head the children’s section and park there for awhile anticipating that I will meet a new friend; a treasure.  But sometimes I read a short review about a book, take a chance and simply order it with fingers crossed.  Snow Dance by Lezlie Evans was ordered with crossed fingers and arrived today.

First of all, it’s a perfect fit for our theme – All Things Snow.  It is all a wonderful fit for those of you who are following us on Heritage 2 Legacy.  I don’t know who recommended Snow Dance to me, but I’m so glad I took a chance and ordered it for my home library.  If interested, you will probably have to purchase it used  – but it is worth it.

The author’s uses a melodic verse to celebrate winter and specifically, snow. Evan’s rhyming words will get your heart pumping and your feet jumping…”Skipping, prancing happy dancing hoping snow will come our way, We are whirling swirling, twirling begging flakes to come and stay.” perfectly capture the joy of a day spent outside in the snow.  Do you have those memories?

My children were both born in Florida, but my childhood memories are from the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania.   It was very important to me to have my son and daughter be able to understand what it means to enjoy a day of “snow dancing”.

  • Snow day – cancelled school!
  • building forts
  • tracks in fresh snow
  • the smell of new snow
  • snow ladened branches
  • snow angels
  • sledding
  • snow ball battles (not my favorite as I had 3 older brothers who dominated at this activity)
  • snow in boots and mittens
  • frozen noses (didn’t care)
  • coming home wet and cold to the smell of a fire in the fireplace
  • hot chocolate waiting on the stove
  • peeling off hats, coats, and gloves
  • the sizzling sound of snow crusted gloves being put on the radiator (I’m ancient)

I hope some of these bullet points stirred memories for you – maybe as recently as this past week only with your children or grandchildren.  Through watercolor, Cynthia Jabar playfully portrays the anticipation of snow as well as the fun the snow brings as the children

As the forecast predicts snow, the children sing and dance in hopes it will come. For with snow brings fun and excitement, and a chance for no school! Through watercolor Cynthia Jabar successfully portrays the story.  You feel the children’s joy as snow is forecasted and school is cancelled.  You see the delight the snow brings as the children sled ride, make snow angels, and then return to the warmth of their own home.

It’s simply the perfect book to read-aloud to one special child or a group of eager story-time listeners.


Snowflake Bentley

Author – Jacquelyn Briggs Martin     Illustrator – Mary Azarian

From the time he was a small boy, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. “Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” — Wilson Bentley.

Meet the Illustrator

Illustrator Mary Azarian was born on December 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C. She grew up on a small farm in northern Virginia. She started making woodcuts when she was a young girl, and then studied the printing process when she went to college.
After she married, Mrs. Azarian lived with her husband on a small farm in Vermont. They gardened, made maple syrup, and raised cows, chickens, sheep, horses, and oxen. In the 1960s she was a teacher for grades 1 through 8 in a one-room schoolhouse.
Mary Azarian frequently creates her artwork for books by using woodcut prints. This is a very time-consuming process. First, she draws each picture on a block of wood. She cuts away the parts of the picture that will be white. She then rolls ink over the design. She puts the inked block on the bottom of her nineteenth-century handpress. Next, she places paper on top of the block and rolls a heavy cylinder over the paper to print it. Finally, she hand-colors the picture with watercolors. Her woodcut prints have the look of rural folk art.
  • Fabulous Pinterest ideas to use with Snowflake Bentley including a virtual tour of the museum!
  • Below is a must-see short documentary about Snowflake Bentley – Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931), the first man to ever photograph a snowflake.

Snow Day!

Author – Lester L. Laminack
Illustrator – Adam Gustavson

I can still remember the thrill of waking up to my parents calling up the stairs,

“No school today! Boy, did it ever snow last night!”

from Snow Day

from Snow Day

My sisters and I would race, wide-eyed, to the window and gaze out at a winter wonderland, squealing with delight at what vast possibilities this ‘snow day’ would hold.  Reading Snow Day! brought back this rush of excitement. You’ll be transported into a frigid, icy playground as the family dreams of enjoying a winter’s day.  The vibrant artwork only adds to the magical wonder of this delightful book, which will have readers of all ages wishing they could be whisked away into enjoying their very own snow day!

Two other excellent books about snow days, which are also beautifully illustrated:
Snow Riders by Constance W. McGeorge
SNOW by Uri Shulevitz

Booklist Review
After hearing the weatherman forecast snow, two young children gleefully fantasize about various activities they can do if it snows enough to close school. Each activity snuggling on the sofa with hot chocolate, building a snow fort filled with a zillion snowballs, sledding seems to include their father.

Unfortunately, the snow doesn’t appear, leaving the family members rushing through their morning routines so as not to be late for school. Then comes the surprise: the narrator is the father, who happens to be a teacher. The illustrations, in muted oils, show the jubilant family anticipating the snow and the activities that they would undertake. The figures fill the pages giving a sense of intimacy, and the scenes are viewed from a variety of perspectives, adding to the excitement and chaos. Children (and parents) will identify with the strong wish for a day away from the routine, as well as the mad rush when things don’t pan out.

Fresh Apple Bars with Snowy Topping

Introducing SNOW!

3 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup oil

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour

2 cups diced apples
1 cup nuts (optional)
powdered sugar (“snow”) for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, sugar and oil together. Add sifted dry ingredients. Fold in apples and nuts and pour into a greased and floured 9″x13″ pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. When done, let your child sprinkle with “snow” (powdered sugar) and cut into bars.

Today seemed like a great day to try out our recipe (It’s 18 degrees out…).

Measuring just so…

Stir and stir some more. And always have a pink princess pen close by in case you have to make changes to the recipe.

I’m thinking this is going to be delicious. (We used Honey Crisp apples)

The house smells DIVINE! Now it is time for some snow!!

All together now…  Let it snow – let it snow – let it snow!

Maybe we overdid it a bit on the powdered sugar – but we were having so much watching it “snow”!

DELICIOUS… Absolutely delicious!  (And just the right amount of…snow.)

Puffy Paint Snowmen

What about making some homemade puffy paint to continue our Fireflies’ snow theme?  I wanted 3D snow for my kids to paint with – and I made it!  I could not believe how easy this was – promise (read on).   I was actually on my way out the door, when I decided to make my paint-snow and the project took all of 10 minutes from beginning to end (with no child involvement, however…).

I gathered my materials.  The recipe calls for equal parts flour, salt and water.

Easy – three ingredients that this non Julia Child had on hand!  I started with 2 T of each and came up with  a smooth runny paste (aka puffy paint).  Since I was going for snow paint, I didn’t add any food coloring, but you certainly could.  Wonder how glitter would have responded to this mixture?  Does it microwave?

So far so good…  Next I tried a small circle on a piece of cardboard I had nearby, and microwaved it for 30 secs.   I was so surprised when I removed my test “painting” from the microwave.  It was dry and puffy!  Oh me of little faith.  Surely it couldn’t be this easy.

I was intrigued and decided to go for the snowman.  I used a piece of blue card stock and painted my snowman – quickly. (Remember, I was on my way out the door…)

It took longer in the microwave – about three minutes.  Just make sure the middle is puffy and dry.  You can watch it dry from the outside in.   You can see how the edges of the paper curled up a bit.  Though not a deal breaker – If you have cardboard or foam board, use that, and have your child paint a background scene for their snowman.

For 2 regular sized snowman, use about 1/4 c of each ingredient depending on how big you plan on your snowmen becoming.  They will not spread out like cookie dough does while cooking.  It is okay to put it back in the microwave to keep cooking…  Again, for my full sized snowman, it took 2 – 3 minutes, but I kept checking throughout that time.  You want the middle to totally puff up.

Below is my finished 1st try awaiting some painted button eyes, a corncob nose and an old silk hat.   But that will have to wait for when my little ones come to visit.  Oh, how they will love to paint on something other than flat paper AND see their puffy creation come to life!
Here’s my latest try with my littlest one (4-years-old).
A perfect impromptu project to do at home if you have flour, salt, and water!
Deni Corbett
Find a copy of Lois Ehlert’s book, Snowballs to inspire the budding creative in your home.  Your child will enjoy poring over the illustrations and identifying the objects selected to adorn Ehlert’s snow family!


Winter Walk

If you checked out Fall Walk by Virginia Snow, then you can imagine what these illustrations look like – simply delightful.  Each page has a highlighted word and a picture in color, like a snowflake.   The main image is painted and the rest of the picture is an intricate pencil drawing – great for extended storytelling by children.   I’ll probably end up purchasing all the seasons:  Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer.  They are just that unusual and well done.   L.O.V.E.

For some great snow-themed activities…  click HERE.

Review by Carol Royce Owen for Good Reads
I love the beauty of this book. The illustrations are so incredible, with sketched backgrounds overlaid with full color paintings of creatures and plant life that would be seen in a forest in the winter. The story itself, told in rhyming verse, tells of a grandchild going on a walk in the woods with his Grammy and siblings. At the end of the book the author gives instructions for making six-sided paper snowflakes and pine cone bird feeders, as well as including some winter trivia.

I can definitely see this book paired with Kate Messner’s, Over and Under the Snow, in a K-2 class’ nature study.

Review by Amazon
Looking for a book to share on a frosty day? Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Winter Walk is a lovely and informative stroll through nature’s quiet season. Grammy leads the children to all sorts of interesting discoveries. “Why is this tree green, Grammy, when others are brown?”

From the perspective of learning, this book is just right for young ones, and its design allows different ages to enjoy it. The figures of the people are only sketched, almost fading into the white backdrop as they make snow angels, fill a bird feeder, and have a snowball fight. But the images of what they notice and talk about are incredibly vivid: a cardinal, a snowshoe hare, a chickadee, a fox… and a gleaming icicle.

The prose is very readable, and the single words that label what’s discussed (snowflake, blue spruce pine cone, deciduous tree, for example) are oversized so young readers can learn those words.

The author includes some extras at the end to make the book even more meaningful. Readers will find directions to make a six-sided paper snowflake and a pine cone bird feeder, as well as a store of winter trivia for curious children who want to learn more.

January Booklist


Our theme this month is SNOW!

We will be sharing all things white and cold and falling…aka snow.

Here’s the list to take to the library so that your home is filled with books to enjoy and explore.   Be sure to check back as Mary reviews some of her favorites from this list.



The Christmas Ship

On November 21, 1912, the schooner Rouse Simmons set sail from a small northern Michigan town across Lake Michigan. Affectionately dubbed the “Christmas Tree Ship,” this was an annual trek for the Rouse Simmons. With its cargo of Christmas trees, the ship was bound for Chicago. There Captain Herman Scheunemann would sell the trees for 50 cents or $1.00 and even gave many away to needy families. But in 1912 the schooner never makes its destination. The Rouse Simmons, with all hands and cargo, disappears into the cold waters. The ship’s wreckage is not found until 1971.

Drawing from stories told by her grandfather, author Carol Crane weaves a fictional tale based on the true events of the doomed schooner. And she explains how the captain’s widow went on to continue his tradition of delivering holiday trees to Chicago.

Since my husband is from Michigan, I was immediately interested in getting this book and learning more about the Christmas Ship – so buy it, I did.  (Actually it doesn’t take much to convince me to buy a new book.)


Little did I know there was a musical written about this story!  A double win for me.  Here’s a video from The Mercury Theatre where they performed The Christmas Schooner, a musical about the Christmas ship.   I would love to see this someday…  In the meantime, I have do the book.

The Christmas Schooner (excerpt)

(sorry about the color bars at the beginning..)

Night Tree

Author:  Eve Bunting
Illustrator:  Ted Rand

In my autographed copy of Night Tree Eve Bunting wrote, “The woods are filled with wondrous secrets!”

Indeed, you may find yourself almost whispering as you read and turn the pages of this starry, moonlit story. As the young boy and his family make their way deep into the woods, carrying their special box and big red lantern, you’ll witness the wondrous secrets they see along the path. When, at last they arrive at “their Night Tree”, the box is opened and a special and heartwarming tradition begins to unfold.  After the tree is properly adorned, the children choose carols to sing.

Later that night, as the young boy lies in bed gazing up at the moon, he  thinks of what might be happening deep in the forest.  He knows that his family has brought Christmas in an unusual way to the forest animals, and wonders if they might be singing their own songs around the Night Tree.

Mary Kline

Publisher’s Weekly Review

A refreshing alternative to the tinsel and sugarplum commercialism of many Christmas offerings, Bunting’s arrestingly simple tale resonates with genuine warmth. A boy recounts his family’s annual Christmas Eve outing to a nearby wood, where they decorate a special tree (“It has been our tree forever and ever”) with fruit, seeds and strings of popcorn for the animals. Rand’s ( Knots on a Counting Rope ) atmospheric watercolors create a mood of hushed excitement as they enhance the festivity of the occasion–apple-cheeked figures exude a homey cheerfulness, their brightly colored caps and blanket sparkling against the deep tones of a nighttime forest. After a mug of cocoa in front of their masterpiece and heartfelt renditions of favorite songs, the family returns home, keenly aware of “the secrets all around us” and pleased with the notion that the animals have a place to celebrate Christmas. Parents will take heart at this uplifting book that celebrates the spirit of the season without undue moralizing.

Christmas Farm

Author: Mary Lyn Ray

Illustrator: Barry Root

Wilma had grown petunias and sunflowers for years. Now she was ready for something else. But what? When snow fell on the last of her sunflower stalks, Wilma still hadn’t decided how to make her garden different next year.  And now there was Christmas to think of. . .

Wilma bundled up, took her hand saw and climbed the hill behind her home. She selected the perfect tree for her parlor, and as she began to wrap it with lights, she knew. She knew what to plant instead of petunias. But she would need the help of Parker. Parker lived next door. He was five. Their adventure was about to begin. They would plant Christmas trees- dozens and dozens (over sixty dozen!)  Each year as the trees grew and matured, Parker was also growing along with them.

“During the winter some trees were lost to mice and deer, storm and ice. When spring came, Parker ran between the rows, counting. Six hundred and fifty-two was a big number to count, but Parker could do it now that he was eight.”

When Wilma and Parker had sold their last tree, they had the deep satisfaction of knowing that in places they never knew, there were trees they had grown wearing lights and balls and tinsel in their branches – green balsam branches that smelled the sweet smell of Christmas.


“This lovely tale celebrates intergenerational friendship and determination, growth and nature, and the joy of the holiday season.”  School Library Journal

Mary Kline