Don't let the winter blahs get you down. Embrace the season with picture books that celebrate the things that make winter weather great: snow, hot chocolate and fuzzy boots! Check out some of these books at your local library for your favorite reader.
A Perfect Day
by Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books, 2012
Never miss a local story.
For ages: 3-5
What to do when there is so much snow it seems as if the whole world is white? The children of this wonderful mountain village have all sorts of ideas for the perfect snow day -- track in the fresh snow powder, whoosh fast on skis and, of course, make snow angels with friends. There is just nothing better than playing in the snow. When dusk comes, the day must come to an end. But the perfect day has the perfect end with "warm hugs and dry clothes and steaming hot chocolate." Some North Texas children may not have much experience with snow, but all will be able to relate to the awesome feeling of coming home after a long day of adventure.
Simple collages re-create the feeling of a quiet snowy day. Pale whites, grays and blues illustrate the peacefulness a snowy day can bring. Children will be surprised to see real lined paper with handwriting in the pictures, and this might be fun inspiration for a winter-day collage craft at home.
by Amy Hest; illustrations by Lauren Castillo
Amazon Children's Publishing, 2012
For ages: 4-8
A great book about hard work and the rewards it can bring! It is a snowy day for a young boy and his dog. But he is determined and not even the snowy wind can stop him. The young boy pulls a long sled loaded with a sturdy brown suitcase through the snow, all the way up the hill with his playful dog by his side. The suitcase remains on the sled. When he reaches the top, watercolor illustrations show the boy cheer! He has made it and he feels like he is at the top of the world in his own private winter wonderland where he and his dog can play to their hearts' content. They make snow angels and have a quick snowball fight, but the suitcase remains shut. After the two warm up with a hot snack that the boy brought, it is time. They cuddle up close and the boy finally opens his suitcase where he stores the very best book. The boy reads the whole book aloud, all in one setting, with his dog patiently listening. It is the very best book! But the fun is not over because the boy then packs up the suitcase and dog and climbs in -- and they sled fast, fast, fast down the hill home.
Bedtime for Bear
by Brett Helquist
For ages: 4-8
Bear is trying to sleep. It is just after the first snowfall, and it really is time for Bear to get to hibernating. Bear has his orange polka-dot pajamas, his bunny and a nice warm bed -- everything is set. But his friends have other ideas. They keep playing right outside Bear's bedroom! And they knock on his bedroom window and even call out for him to come and play. Bear is touched that his friends miss him, so he goes to the door to remind them that it is bedtime for bears; except when he opens the door, a giant snowball -- splat -- hits him in the face!
Yikes! Bear is mad. Will he be able to forgive his friends? Will he be able to actually go to sleep for the winter? This is a funny tale told mostly with dialogue bubbles that kids will love and beginning readers will be able to follow. Kids will get a kick out of Bear and his friends and root for him to find a way to finally get to sleep!
by Marcus Pfister
North South Books, 2011
For ages: 4-8
The author of The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister, tells readers the sweet story of a little girl named Sophie and her dog, Rascal. It is a snowy day outside, but Rascal is home all alone. Sophie has gone to the city to shop with her parents. Rascal is bored. What will he do all day? Rascal's sense of adventure gets the best of him and he discovers a way out of the house. He happily chases the snow and then a rabbit near the fence. And off he goes. He chases the rabbit all the way to the woods. All of a sudden the cold snow is not nearly as great as it was at first and Rascal is not sure he knows which way is home. How will Rascal get home? Will he find Sophie again? Thanks to a friendly stranger, Rascal and his family are able to make a new friend. Adorable cartoonlike illustrations show a fuzzy Rascal doing all the things we love about dogs: being adventurous, excited and lovable. Rascal's story will resonate with children who love their pets and also remind readers of the importance of home.
by Uri Shulevitz
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998
For ages: 3-5
Kids who love even the possibility of snow will relate to this book whose author/illustrator won the Caldecott Honor for its illustrations. Everything across the city is gray and overcast until one tiny snowflake falls from the sky. The boy with dog is excited. "It's snowing!" he says, but no one else thinks it will amount to anything. Yet the boy is not discouraged, even when grandfather with beard, the man with hat and woman with umbrella all try to tell him otherwise. But the snow keeps falling, and slowly the whole city has turned to white! Kids will love how the boy's excitement comes to life even though all the adults in the book (including the weather forecasters!) did not think it would really snow. A fun, short read for the littlest snow fans.
by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books, 1999
For ages: 6-10
A collection of poems and paintings by Douglas Florian dedicated to winter highlight the best and worst that winter can bring. On the good side, there are "frozen lakes/hot pancakes/lots of snow/hot cocoa," but on the flip side winter brings "frozen toes/running nose/sloppy slush/holiday crush." Florian includes different types of poems in his winter collection, but readers will especially love the concrete poems (where the text makes a shape) about snowflakes and ice-skating. Watercolors and pencils illustrate the colors of winter simply.
Some poems are about very wintery topics, like ice fishing and winter gear that some Southern readers may not relate to, but Florian is an amazing poet with several collections. This is especially great for readers who are just getting to know poetry.
Lisa Smant is a children's librarian at the Fort Worth Central Library.