Silently, softly falls the snow-and with it comes all sorts of wintery times. Chill out with these books featuring winter!

Web links to additional information and activities about Winter follow these reviews.

Contributor: Peg Glisson


After the Snow

S.D. Crockett

In this powerful first novel, global warming has killed the North Atlantic Current, sending the U.K. and much of the U.S. into a new ice age. Fifteen-year-old Willoa “born in the barren, snow-covered mountains of northern Walesa “has never known anything but the cold; half-feral, he barely listens when his father tells him stories of the times before the weather changed. Coming home from a day on the mountain, however, he finds his family has been taken away by government men. Then, heading back up the mountain, seeking refuge from the weather, cannibals, and feral dogs, Willo stumbles on two abandoned children. His first instinct is to a cego quick away from those kids just standing all frozen and starving with their dark eyes begging me,a but his basic humanity eventually intervenes. This brutal and at times terrifying postapocalyptic tale features a well-developed first-person narrator, strong secondary characters, and spare but compelling language. Despite its grim take on humanitya (TM)s willingness to do evil, it also demonstrates that, even under the most straitened circumstances, people are capable of unexpected kindness and altruism. 2012, Feiwel & Friends, . Ages 12 &up, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9780312641696

Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!


Danielle Williams (Children’s Literature)

Anna Hibiscus doesn’t shy away from adventures and when she gets the chance to visit her Grandma in Canada, she jumps at the chance. Anna is excited and scared but eager to travel and spend Christmas in Canada. When she arrives, Anna finds that the journey was only the beginning of her adventure. Adapting to the cold of a Canadian winter, as well as unfamiliar foods and a dog in the house and the new traditions that Granny Canada wants to share with Anna makes each day an adventure. It’s never easy to visit a new country and Anna constantly feels the differences between staying in Canada and her safe, happy home in Africa. Anna’s life in Africa may seem odd to many young readers, but Anna’s adventure in Canada will help children realize that normal life for them can be just as odd for children from other countries. 2011, Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, Ages 5 to 10, $5.99.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9780312641696


Matthew J. Kirby

When war comes to her father’s kingdom, young Solveig, along with her older sister and their little brother the crown prince, is sent to a mountain fortress for safekeeping. The stronghold is as isolated as it is impregnable: surrounded by snow-covered bluffs and a frozen sea, the place seems more like a prison than a home to Solveig, a feeling that is only heightened when the berserkers her father’s most elite and brutal warriors are assigned to guard the siblings. As winter tightens its grip and the fortress walls seem to close about her, the only pleasure Solveig finds is serving as an apprentice to Alric, the royal skald, or storyteller, but when most of the castle residents fall ill and it becomes clear that there is a traitor in their midst, even that small joy is taken away. Finding her voice was one thing, but now Solveig must use her talents to ferret out the spy, convince an invading king of his own mortality, and lead her family to safety. Kirby masterfully interweaves the familiar aspects of Solveig’s coming of age with a taut, compelling mystery and survival story that fans of both fantasy and historical fiction will find utterly appealing. The power of storytelling is apparent not only in the actual plot of the story but in its format as well, as a spattering of chapters have Solveig directly addressing her narration to other characters in the book, a technique that creates both an effective intimacy and, as their situation worsens, a palpable sadness. There’s an arctic bite that permeates even the most mundane of scenes, making the ominous setting a character in its own right, while the inclusion of several Nordic myths complete the icy picture. Readers will be left thinking about this one long after the chill has left their bones. Review Code: R — Recommended. 2011, Scholastic, Grades 5-8, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Kate Quealy-Gainer (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books).

ISBN: 9780545274241

How Do We Know It’s Winter

Molly Aloian

From the scientific explanation of why there is winter on earth to a list of clothes worn in winter, this has all the elements of a fun-to-read science book. Each winter topic, such as “When is winter?” covers two pages and includes real life photographs which include children, close-ups of animals, or landscapes. Also included with most topics is a “What do you think?” question promoting analysis. For example, “Can you think of three other animals that you see in winter that have thick fur to keep them warm?” is the question posed in the section addressing hibernation. Key words are noted in bold with a “Words to Know” glossary in the back of the book. A unique and helpful sidebar is found in the glossary which defines a noun, verb, and adjective as highlighted in the glossary. For researchers, there is also a thirteen word index at the back of the book. As an aid to teachers and curious students, there is a project suggestion called, “Winter around the world,” which poses questions to guide a reader in researching and also a page of book and website resources. Gr. 1-3. 2013, Crabtree Publishing, 24p. Illus., Hdbk. $18.36 Ages 6 to 9

REVIEWER: Krisan Murphy (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780778709626

If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws!

Kim Norman

Illustrated by Liza Woodruff

The team behind Ten on the Sled presents a rollicking twist on “If You’re Happy and You Know It” starring a bevy of winter-loving animals. Norman offers 11 alliterative verses whose spot-on rhythms and rhymes make singalouds a given: “If your fur is full of flurries, taste a flake./ Skate around or make some angels on a lake.” The verses build a narrative that involves an igloo that nearly drifts to sea, an outdoor picnic, and cozy indoor reading and painting. Woodruff includes lightly comedic moments throughout her mixed-media illustrations (a rabbit zips into its footie pajamas in preparation for a slumber party), which have a warmth that belies the midwinter setting. 2013, Sterling, Ages 3-up, $14.95.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9781454903840

The Kids’ Winter Fun Book

Claire Gilman

The Kids’ Winter Fun Book lives up to its title with a wide variety of inexpensive, winter-themed indoor and outdoor activities that young people and their families can enjoy. From crafting sock animals or putting on a shadow play to winter photography and building a snow fortress, static electricity games or picking up an ice cube with a match, or cooking any number of delicious seasonal favorites such as apple crisp, plum pie, crispy cereal cakes, or a chocolate log, The Kids’ Winter Fun Book is packed cover-to-cover with engaging ideas. Step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and color illustrations distinguish this fun and family- friendly guide, highly recommended as a positive alternative to TV and video games! The Activity Shelf …., 2011, Barron’s,n/a, $12.99.

REVIEWER: Midwest Book Review (Children’s Bookwatch)

ISBN: 9780764147265

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money

Emily Jenkins

Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

On a cold, blowing, snowy winter day a little girl named Pauline decides she wants to set up a lemonade stand outside her home. Of course her parents try to discourage her, but little brother John-John thinks it is a great idea and wants to help. The two youngsters collect all the quarters they can find (amounting to six dollars) and run off to the store for supplies. Quickly they make lemonade, limeade, and lemon-limeade, set up shop outside and set a price of fifty cents per cup. Using various antics such as cartwheels, balloon decorations, chanting at the top of their lungs as well as a sale price of twenty-five cents a cup, they finally have empty pitchers. But when Pauline counts up their earnings, it totals only four dollars. She is most unhappy because they did not make a profit. Sensibly John-John makes Pauline realize that sixteen quarters is still money and that they can use it to buy themselves popsicles. The illustrations, done with ink and colored pencils in subdued colors are just right for the story. A repeated refrain makes this ideal for story time as it enables children to actively participate. Teachers will also find the book useful for teaching math concepts, as the last page demonstrates how Pauline teaches John-John about money. Add this to the acquisition list as it is certain to be useful as well as enjoyable. 2012, Schwartz & Wade, Ages 4 to 8, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sylvia Firth (Children’s Literature)

ISBN: 9780375858833

Me Too!

Valeri Gorbachev

Beginning reader books do not have to be boring. In this “I Like to Read” entry, we meet Bear and Chipmunk, who are watching the snow fall. Bear, who likes the snow, goes out to dig. “Me too!” exclaims Chipmunk, to this and every other suggestion by Bear, as he joins him digging, making a snowman, skating, falling, and skiing in the deep snow. When Bear is cold and suggests going home, of course Chipmunk again says, “Me too!” This refrain only changes when they are in bed and Bear wishes him, “Sweet dreams.” “You too!” is Chipmunk’s reply. Gorbachev uses pen-and-ink and watercolors loosely to create appealing anthropomorphic characters and their activities. He dresses them in an assortment of cold weather clothing that adds humor. Eventually fatigue ends the simple tale in homey comfort and sleep. An enjoyable read that will fit well in a classroom, library, or home. 2013, Holiday House, Ages 3 to 7, $14.95.

REVIEWER: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780823427444

One-Dog Sleigh

Mary Casanova

Pictures by Ard Hoyt

Ten years after the publication of Casanova and Hoyt’s One-Dog Canoe, the collaborators bring back the heroine and dog of that book for a boisterous wintry sequel. Like its predecessor, this story also updates the folktale of “The Mitten”: as girl and dog ride through the woods in a cozy red sleigh, one forest animal after another dives in (pity the pony pulling them along). Filled with rhymes, sound effects, cumulative lines (“Sorry, can’t delay. It’s a one-lynx, one-owl, one-squirrel, one-dog sleigh”), and anthropomorphic animal comedy, the story reads a bit like a more talkative and broadly humorous version of Lita Judge’s Red Sled. 2013, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Ages 4-8, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9780374356392

Operation Robot Storm

Alex Milway

In this latest episode of the “Mythical 9th Division,” the three Yetis-leader Albrecht, wise Saar, Master of the Yeti Way, and giant master of brute force Timonen-travel to Snowdonia, Wales, to discover the source of a glacier that is covering the small country in an unusual, and freezing, climate change. Despite the rules to avoid human contact, they soon align themselves with the Welsh mountain miners. Then they tackle the source of the creeping glacier and discover hordes of very large, very strong. laser-armed robots. Timonen is in his element as he rips off the heads and arms of the robots, but more always appear. A robot factory is an integral part of the evil Balaclava’s plan to rule the world! Balaclava has turned his wicked genius to creating a massive targeted weather machine. Snowdonia is just a small demonstration. As the world doesn’t cave and pay him the trillion dollars he demands, he brings London to a total shut-down with a massive freezing snowfall. The Yetis bring down both the weather machine and the evil Balaclava in a series of short, action-packed chapters. Alex Milway certainly knows how to attract the 2nd/3rd grade boy to books with a combination of black and white cartoon-like graphics, design drawings of “Special Forces” equipment, and fast moving humorous text. This series is a good addition to the school or class library, particularly to interest boy readers who will be fascinated by the Yetis and their toolkits! A charming brave Welsh miner boy will give youngsters another character with whom to identify. 2013, Kane/Miller, Ages 8 to 11, $5.99.

REVIEWER: Elisabeth Greenberg (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781610670746

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Karen Fox Lee

In this appropriately frosty take on The Snow Queen, Foxlee (The Midnight Dress) introduces 11-year-old Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, who’s asthmatic, pragmatic, curious, and braver than she realizes. Ophelia’s family, shattered after her mother’s death, is visiting an unnamed snowy city so her father can curate an exhibition of swords. Exploring the strange, icy, and nearly empty museum, Ophelia discovers the long-imprisoned Marvelous Boy, who recruits her to help him save the world from the Snow Queen; she also turns up a cluster of deadly “misery birds” and a roomful of the ghosts of numerous girls. Foxlee’s writing is elegant and accessible, with a pervading melancholy; this is as much a story of loss as it is an adventure. Certain elements, such as the identity of the Snow Queen, aren’t really surprises, but it’s in Foxlee’s evocation of the museum’s unsettling dangers, as well as Ophelia’s eventual willingness to reconcile what she knows in her mind with what she feels in her heart, that this story shines. 2014, Knopf, Ages 8-12, $16.99.

REVIEWER: *Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9780385753548

Snow School

Sandra Markle

Illustrated by Alan Marks

Snow School” is a fabulous watercolor illustrated children’s book about two twin snow leopard cubs, born in the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan in the spring. The two snow leopard cubs, a boy and a girl, are taught, trained and cared for by their mother, through their baby growing months. They learn such lessons as ‘Outside the den it’s a dangerous world, and ‘Always leave your scent to claim your favorite hunting places,’ and also, ‘Be quiet when you go hunting.’ These lessons are the cubs. Snow School, teaching them skills they will need to survive independently in a harsh environment. After many harsh lessons, the cubs continue to grow and increase their hunting and survival skills. Having completed their Snow School lessons, eventually the grown cubs will separate from their mother and survive hunting alone in the Hindu Kush mountains. Even more amazing facts about snow leopards are presented at the end of “Snow School,” along with additional sources including a video titled Snow Leopard Twins. This beautiful educational book will fascinate and educate children age 6 and up. The Picturebook Shelf ….,2013, Charlesbridge, Ages 6+, $16.95.

REVIEWER: Midwest Book Review (Children’s Bookwatch).

ISBN: 9781580894104

Snowflakes Fall

Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

In tribute to the lives lost in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, acclaimed author and artist MacLachlan and Kellogg collaborate on a book that celebrates “the laughter, the playful high spirits, and the uniqueness of the children of Sandy Hook and of children everywhere,” as Kellogg explains in his dedication. The text unfolds as a continuous verse, emphasizing renewal while drawing a comparison between the singularity of a snowflake and that of a child: “After the flowers are gone/ Snowflakes fall./ Flake/ After flake/ After flake/ Each one a pattern/ All its own-/ No two the same-/ All beautiful.” Rosy-cheeked children and rowdy pet dogs cavort through the snowy wonderland of Kellogg’s paintings, which give way to rainy spring scenes “Where soon/ Flowers will grow/ Again.” The most direct allusion to the tragedy comes in two scenes picturing “fields of snow angels,” a somber metaphor for the children killed. It’s a potent reminder of the ephemeral nature of childhood and of the joys contained within those fleeting years. 2013, Random House, Ages 3-7, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9780385376938

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Ellen Bryant Obed

Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

First ice, second ice, and third ice formed in the pails in the sheep barn: A thin skin that broke easily into shards, then a round window, and finally an impenetrable block. Then there was field ice, marking the first opportunity to don skates and glide along stream ice. There was also black ice and garden ice, and Bryan Gardens, the rink they built in the yard. Eventually, there is last ice, followed only by dream ice. Ellen Bryan Obed recalls the warmth of childhood winters full of families and friends, skating and nature’s gifts in this lyrical catalog of twelve kinds of ice that will resonate with any child today who loves the coldest season. Barbara McClintock’s delicate, detailed black-and-white illustrations in pen and ink are a perfect accompaniment to Obed’s writing, evoking the same sense of nostalgia and lively appreciation for having fun. CCBC Category: Seasons and Celebrations. 2012, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 5-10, $16.99.

REVIEWER: CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices).

ISBN: 9780618891290

The Wind That Wanted to Rest

Sheldon Oberman

Illustrated by Neil Waldman

In fiction, the wind can be a power for good or evil, but in this story the wind is just old, and wants a place to rest. But where? The trees, the mountain, and the village inn will not let him stay: they don’t want his cold wind blowing, or his draft seeping through the walls. The wind, at first hurt by the rejection, becomes angry and brings a huge snowstorm to the land. Resolution is achieved when a young girl takes pity on the wind, and invites him to stay underneath her house where she can care for him. In return for her kindness, he brings snow to the cellar, which keeps her family cool during the hot summers. This story, whose folktale source is ambiguous, is a vehicle for the themes of kindness and tolerance toward others, even those who may be unlike us, and who possess characteristics we may consider disagreeable. The book consists, in general, of one paragraph of text on one page and an illustration on the facing page. The text is simple and plain, befitting a folktale. The illustrations are striking, and done, for the most part, in shades of blue. There is an “Afterword,” in which an explanation and justification for the story is attempted, but it is unnecessary. The story itself, with its message of hope and kindness, is in itself enough to charm youngsters. 2012, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 3 to 8, $17.95.

RREVIEWER: Leona Illig (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781590788585

Updated 01/01/14

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