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Snow bother: Wintry tales that make reading a breeze

NEW YORK/BEIRUT: Brrrr. It’s time for all good children, at least those in chilly territory, to curl up with a good book featuring snow. Picture books showing off the white stuff make perfect Christmas presents for budding readers. Here’s eight to get you started:

1. “The Snowy Day,” written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, reprint edition from Puffin. This 1963 Caldecott Medal winner is the tranquil story of a city boy named Peter who bundles up for crunchy outdoor adventures after discovering it snowed overnight. Cutouts, watercolors and the Brooklyn-born creator’s classic collage work. It’s considered the first full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist.

2. “Snow,” written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, reprint edition from Square Fish. First out in 1998. A hopeful “boy with dog” lives in a great, gray city inhabited by doubtful grown-ups transformed with the season’s first snowflake. It earned Shulevitz, who survived the bombing of Warsaw as a boy, a Caldecott Honor and may be just the thing to cheer up a modern-day “grandfather with beard” who utters: “It’s only a snowflake.”

3. “Snowflake Bentley,” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian, reprint edition from HMH Books for Young Readers. Another Caldecott Medal winner, this one was also first published in 1998. It tells the story of Vermont’s Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, a self-educated farmer who combined a microscope and an old bellows camera to become the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.

4. “Atelier du père Noël” by Cécile Petit and Sébastien Pelon. First out in 2012 by Editions Milan. This French children’s book offers an interactive exploration of the North Pole with paper cutouts to assemble into the workshop of Father Christmas and his elves.

5. “Frosty the Snowman,” illustrated by Wade Zahares, music and lyrics by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, from Imagine. This retelling of the seasonal song standard features a trippy-looking Frosty in black top hat and green mittens. Includes a three-track CD with the song and others performed by Grammy winner Kenny Loggins.

6. “Sisi Malaket” or “Sisi Tweezers – Wearing a Sheep and Two Worms” in Arabic by Rania Zaghir and illustrated by Heba Farran. Published in 2009 by Al-Khayyat al-Saghir. The awarding-winning tale of Sisi, who teaches other young girls about the changing seasons through her changing outfits. The books aims to teach children fabrics and how appropriate each is as the temperature changes.

7. “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, from Harper. The black crow and troll almost jump off the page with detailed, lifelike drawings by the Russian-born artist. The queen, with winged headpiece and icy eyes, lures Kai to her frozen castle, where he nearly dies from cold until his rescue by friend Gerda.

8. “Big Snow,” written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean, from Farrar Straus Giroux, tells the story of an antsy young boy who awaits a big snowstorm. Botching chores with his mother when changing bedsheets, fluffy flour for cookies and sudsy soap bubbles while cleaning the bathroom lead him into a blizzard dream at naptime.

9. “When it Snows,” by Richard Collingridge, from Feiwel and Friends. A picture-book debut that features not only an eery ode to megasnow and various large icy creatures, but also a good word at the end for reading itself.

10. “Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow,” by David Soman and Jacky Davis, Dial Books for Young Readers. The latest in the best-selling franchise by this husband-and-wife team. Lulu dons her trademark all-red ladybug look, dotted wings and tutu over puffy jacket and snow pants to romp in a magical big snow with her dog, Bingo. Joined by her brother, they create lots of snow animals, including a nice likeness of her pet.

 
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