Friday, December 6, 2013

Waiting for Winter with Big Snow

Big Snow
by Jonathan Bean
32 pages; ages 3-6
Farrar Strauss & Giroux, 2013

If your kid can't wait to skate/ski/slide down the hill in the neighborhood park, you will appreciate Big Snow. Also if you live any place where schools have "snow days"...

Themes: seasons, family

The book opens with a wordless spread: a boy all dressed up in his parka and cap, pulling a plastic toboggan across the dried grass of his front lawn.
"Mom," said David, "when will it snow?" "I think soon," said Mom. "Why don't you help me make cookies while you wait."
David helps Mom make cookies... but the fine, white flour makes him think of snow. So he races outside to check the weather. Only a few flakes falling. He bugs Mom again: "Will it snow taller than the grass?" In response, Mom asks him to help clean the bathroom. But the bubbles and foam from the cleaner spray (he gets a little exuberant) make David think of snow, so he races outside to check the weather.

What I like about this book: the creative imagination of a child. Making a bed? White sheets over pillows make great ski slopes for your action figures... 

Beyond the Book: Why wait for snow when you can make your own snowflakes? All you need is white paper and scissors and a bit of imagination. Remember that snowflakes have six sides. Paper-folding directions and design ideas here.

Make an indoor igloo by draping a white sheet over a table or a couple of chairs. If it's still not snowing, make some snowmen out of marshmallows. You need large marshmallows, some frosting to "glue" them together, chow mein noodles for stick arms, and candy for decorating: tic-tacs, m&m's, cinnamon dots, chocolate chips, raisins...

You can make your own snow globe. You need: a small glass jar with a good lid that's leak-proof (baby food jars work well); glitter; small plastic items or figures to put in the jar; water; glycerin or mineral oil; and a hot glue gun. Glue the figures for the scene onto the lid of the jar & let it set. Then fill the jar 3/4 full with water (add a bit of glycerin if you want) and add a pinch or two of glitter. Screw on the lid and watch the snow fall. Hint: if your lid isn't leak-proof, use some pipe thread tape to line it.  Check out Archimedes Notebook for ideas on how to turn your snow globe into a science experiment.

Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. Love your activity ideas for Big Snow!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful book with greaaat imaginative ideas for snow. Like Julie I love your activity ideas for snow play. :)

  3. Packed with imagination! I love this little boy -- reminds me of me as a child. Could hardly wait for the snow. Great choice!

  4. We're snowed in today! With a snow day from school as well! It's actually more ice than snow, but you can sure slide on it!! This looks like a fun book and some great activities to go along. Thanks!

  5. I haven't seen this book and there is no snow here yet, but reading your review brings all the anticipation to life for me. I enjoyed the post.

  6. Now I'm pumped for our snowfall coming this weekend. Love your offering this week, Sue!

  7. Oh wow! Now I could make some of those activities myself, so I can imagine having a white Christmas, like you guys! I loved the book you have chosen and can empathise with the little fella! :)

  8. We hope to get our kid ready for the neighborhood sledding hill this year.

  9. I love Jonathan Bean and I saw lots of sketches for the making of this book. (Maybe on 7 Impossible Things) and anyway, I STILL haven't read it. Shame on me, but thanks to you. And thank-you for the terrific activities. Let it snow!