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22 Mar, Wednesday
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Montreal Families

Books that entice kids to frolic in the snow

Whether to the delight of some or the displeasure of others, many of us may forget what a magical experience the winter season can be, especially for children. From making snow angels and building snowmen to firing snowballs at friends and pushing each other into mountains of the white stuff, it can add up to a lot of fun for little ones.

Here are some books that celebrate the wonders of winter.

Over and Under the Snow

(Chronicle Books, $11.99) by Kate Messner — Ages 1-4

Part of the nature book series that includes Over and Under the Pond, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, this story will inspire youngsters to explore the quiet and secret world of animals during winter. How do they adapt to the cold, where do they live, and what do they do all day and night?

Find it at Chapters Indigo

Malaika’s Winter Carnival
(Groundwood Books, $18.95) by Nadia L. Hohn, Irene Luxbacher – Ages 3-5

Moving to Canada means that Malaika is reunited with her mom, but it also means that everything is different. It’s freeeeezing in Québec City, no one seems to understand when she talks, and Carnival is nothing like the colourful and warm celebration Malaika knows from home in the Caribbean.

Written in a blend of English and Caribbean patois, this is a warm story about the importance of family, especially when adjusting to a new home.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

The Snowy Day
(Puffin Books, $10.99) by Ezra Jack Keats – Ages 3-5

This is a great time of year to introduce children to this classic story about a little boy experiencing the first snowstorm of the year. He heads outside all dressed up in his bulky red snowsuit to discover the fresh snow that has just fallen. He makes snow angels, climbs hills, makes funny footprints and partakes in all the other joys that come with the first snowfall. First published in 1962, this book won the Caldecott medal (for the most distinguished American picture book for children).

It is no surprise that this book has endured so long as it perfectly captures the natural playfulness that snow brings out in children.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

Owl Moon
(Penguin Young Readers Group, $24.99) by Jane Yolen – Ages 3-5

Owl Moon shares the gentle story of a child’s trip with her father through the shadowy forest in search of the magnificent Great Horned Owl. A sense of expectancy builds the deeper into the woods they go. “When you go owling, you don’t need words, or warm, or anything but hope. That’s what Pa says. The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon.”

Find it at Chapters Indigo

I Have to Go!
(Annick Press, $7.95) by Robert Munsch – Ages 3-6

Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch is known for his amusing tales and this is one of his funniest and most endearing. Andrew’s parents always ask if he has to go to the bathroom before they go through the lengthy process of dressing him up to go outside. Initially he says “no” but he inevitably changes his mind just as his folks have bundled him up in his coat, snow pants, hat, scarf and mittens. His parents then race against time as they hurry to get him undressed. In the character of Andrew, Munsch channels the free spirit that inhabits children and can sometimes frustrate parents.

Children will relate to the ordeal of getting into a snowsuit, whereas parents will identify with the annoyance of having to get it off at lightning speed.

Find it (and the miniature-sized version) at Babar Books

Once Upon a Northern Light
(Groundwood Books, $17.95) by Jean E. Pendziwol – Ages 4-7

There is something almost mystical about going to sleep at night and waking up to mounds of snow covering the ground and snow-covered branches in the trees. This book traces the moments during the night when the snow is falling. Crafted as a lullaby, the rhythm of the book’s verses feel exactly like the delicate snowfall that they are describing. “Once upon a northern light, pine trees held out prickly hands to catch the falling flakes that gathered into puffs of creamy white.” The narrator recounts to a sleeping child the stages of a nighttime snowfall beginning with that first small flake until the sky is completely filled and the amount of snow blanketing the ground keeps growing and growing. Animals play and the windows become painted with feathers of frost. By the time the child wakes up, the world outside looks exactly like what was told in the lullaby.

The soft illustrations bring to life the beautiful glow of the white snow against the dark night sky. This is a great bedtime story, especially on the night of a snowstorm.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

The Snow Dancer
(Amazon Publishing, $24.99) by Addie Boswell – Ages 6-8

Bright illustrations highlight Sofia’s snow-day experience. After she wakes to a tranquil winter wonderland, Sofia sets out to the local park, dancing across the freshly fallen and undisturbed snow. But when the neighbourhood kids scatter “all of Sofia’s beautiful silence,” she must recover and learn to share and adapt if she wants to continue enjoying the snow day.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

Snow Globe Wishes
(Sleeping Bear Press, $21.99) by Erin Dealey – Ages 6-8

Winner of the 2019 Top 20 Goodreads Choice Awards, this story shows the joys of playing outdoors after a winter storm has passed. After hunkering down together in a cozy blanket fort for the night, a little girl makes a wish on a snow globe and, in the morning, the sun rises on a winter wonderland — beckoning everyone outside.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

Baseball Bats for Christmas
(Annick Press, $12.95) by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak – Ages 6-8

This unique glimpse of childhood in the Arctic by acclaimed Inuk storyteller Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak will introduce young readers to a time, place, and culture that may be new to them. In 1955, Arvaarluk and his friends watch as Rocky Parsons lands his plane on the ice in Repulse Bay, a tiny community “smack dab on the Arctic Circle.” Having never seen trees before, the children try to guess what the six green spindly things are that Rocky delivers. One of the boys has a brilliant idea: why not use them as baseball bats?

Find it at Chapters Indigo

Fishing with Grandma
(Inhabit Media, $12.95) by Susan Avingaq, Maren Vsetula– Ages 6-8

“My sister and I were excited for a visit with our favourite elder, and we were hoping to convince her to take us out for an adventure!”
Fishing with Grandma offers an engaging tale of two grandchildren and their grandma on an Arctic adventure that begins when Grandma takes them out for a trip to the lake. After showing the kids how to prepare for a fishing trip, Grandma and the kids enjoy a day of jigging in the ice for fish. Readers will learn along with the grandchildren as Grandma shows them every step they need to know to complete a successful fishing trip, from what clothes to wear, to how to drill and clear holes in the ice, to how to make a traditional Inuit jigging rod. The story is punctuated with Inuktitut and shares a sweet message of caring for our elders.

Find it at Chapters Indigo

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