Monday, January 01, 2007
By Denise Fleming. Buddy Boy asks me “If it’s winter, where is the snow?” He has been waiting since the end of summer for winter to come because he wants to play in the snow. With this crazy warm weather we are having there is no chance of snow in the foreseeable future, so we just read books about it. Fleming’s The First Day of Winter is an adaptation of the Twelve Days Of Christmas. A boy builds a snowman and each day brings more articles of decoration: one hat, two mittens, three scarves, four pine cones, five bird seed pockets, and so on. The illustrations show little forest creatures stopping by for a friendly visit, although they are not mentioned in the text. By the tenth day the snowman is dancing over the hills on his ten peanut toes. The artwork is bold and charming. What could be a very simplistic tale is actually very clever and creative in the way the numbers and design elements are combined to give the snowman a plausible and pleasing ornamentation. The rhythmic, repetitive structure of the text is balanced by the dramatic interplay suggested in the pictures, leaving a lot of room for discussion. Buddy noticed the birds eating bird seed out of the snowman’s pocket and laughed to see the snowman dancing away at the end. This book is perfect for a preschooler who is into counting, matching, arranging, building and imagining.