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Like most creative artists who are also critics, Shulevitz displays time and again in his own work the criteria that are the foundation of his critical theories. Snow is no exception. Through a minimalist text and carefully composed illustrations, it demonstrates his belief that the true picture book, with its inevitable melding of words and art, is a distinct genre. The premise is as simple as it is universal (at least in cold climates): the transforming power of a snowstorm. The setting is a dour, gray little town suggesting an Eastern European locale of old-except for television and radio. Neither of the latter is particularly prescient when it comes to predicting weather, for "snowflakes don't listen to radio, / snowflakes don't watch television." Only a hopeful small boy recognizes the first snowflake as a harbinger of the wonder to come. Nor is he discouraged as one adult after another tries to disabuse him. With each turn of the page, marvels occur that are presented only in the illustrations: the rooftops gradually whiten; the village becomes an enchanted landscape; nursery rhyme characters emerge from their niches in the Mother Goose bookstore, joining the small boy in a joyous winter ballet. As in Shulevitz's Dawn, the changes are gradual and logical-not quite as dramatic, perhaps, but nonetheless satisfying, with a touch of the fantastic. The palette is appropriately subdued, depending in the concluding pages upon the contrast between a freshly blue sky and snow-covered buildings rather than brilliant colors for effect.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
July 15, 1998
9.16 X 10.1 X 0.34 inches | 0.77 pounds
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About the Author
Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author. He has written and illustrated many celebrated children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winner The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, written by Arthur Ransome. He has also earned three Caldecott Honors, for The Treasure, Snow, and How I Learned Geography.
"Pure enchantment from start to finish. Shulevitz uses text as spare as a December landscape to cast a spell of winter magic [and] works a bit of visual alchemy as the tale progresses." --Starred, Publishers Weekly
"Outstanding . . . filled with humorous touches . . . Youngsters will joyfully join the boy in his winter-welcoming dance." --Starred, School Library Journal