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4.0 out of 5 stars Let it snow let it snow let it snow, Feb. 29 2004
By 
E. R. Bird "Ramseelbird" (Manhattan, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Snow (Paperback)
By and large (and I'm sorry people, but this really is the truth) picture books from the 1940s are either dull, offensive, or dull AND offensive. Not so "The Big Snow". A delicate little Caldecott winner, the tale told is not particularly new or deep. But it's a charmer, no question about it.
The story follows various woodland creatures as they prepare for the winter months ahead. Though a couple birds fly south and several mammals prepare their burrows, the majority of furry folk decide they won't have to worry about making it through the winter. When a huge snowfall occurs, however, it takes the kind ministrations of two snow-suited humans to feed the hungry animals.
As a story, it's fine. Nothing particularly good or bad about it. Gardeners reading this tale will cringe inwardly when they hear a mama rabbit (suspiciously named "Mrs. Cottontail") instructing her child to eat the cabbage and carrots in the garden. Similarly, the meadow mouse that lives in tunnels that "led to sweet plant roots and to the tulip bulbs in the garden" may seem cute but explain that to the men and women who sweat and strained to plant those bulbs in the first place.
It's the illustrations that really give this book a life of its own. Each little furry or winged animal is rendered realistically without sacrificing any adorableness. The baby rabbit munching on carrot tops comes particularly to mind. Black and white pen and ink drawings (or perhaps they're pencil...) contrast nicely with full page color spreads. This heightens the tension in the scenes. The first glance of the countryside bathed in heaps of snowfall is a color shoot. Likewise, the scrambling of the animals to eat the breadcrumbs spread by the nice human couple. On the other hand, scenes of the field mice dancing in the silvery light of the moon are charmingly rendered. They are undoubtedly the best thing in the book. And the humans here are well drawn. Sometimes artists that know their ways around animals have a very difficult time drawing people. Not so here. In fact the book flap informs us that Mr. and Mrs. Hader (the authors) purposefully made the humans themselves. In fact, there's a charming shot of the two of them, snow shovels in hand, on the copyright page.
If you live in a climate where an abundance of snow is a regular wintertime occurrence (paging Minnesota), kids will like seeing what the animals of the woods do. If you live in a temperate climate with balmy breezes and mild winters (paging Arizona) you may find the children who read this fascinated by the myriad of different ways snow can affects creatures from all walks of life. This is a beautiful story, lovingly rendered. Enjoy at your leisure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Preparing for Winter, Jan. 27 2002
By 
This review is from: The Big Snow (Paperback)
The story follows a linear plot. The animals begin to notice winter is coming and that certain things need to be done before winter arrives. The story tells the reader which animals can survive a cold winter and which ones hibernate. The story then peaks with "The Big Snow" itself and then travels back into the spring season. This is one of my personal favorites. I've read this book several times to my own children and my students. Coming from a state, Michigan, that has all experiences all four seasons also, this story brings back memories of my own childhood and the scenes of wildlife in preparation for winter and the feeding of deers, birds, rabbits, etc. The story is very strong in the sequence of events from season to season and the signs of the changing season.
Math - Sequence of events, number of month in a year, seasons. Science - Region study of weather, animal hiberation techniques, winter survival, how snow is made and maybe a habitat study. Social Studies - Regions and their seasons, map skills, topography,
Art - Snow pictures, animals, forest homes,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Preparing for Winter, Jan. 27 2002
By 
This review is from: The Big Snow (Paperback)
The story follows a linear plot. The animals begin to notice winter is coming and that certain things need to be done before winter arrives. The story tells the reader which animals can survive a cold winter and which ones hibernate. The story then peaks with "The Big Snow" itself and then travels back into the spring season. This is one of my personal favorites. I've read this book several times to my own children and my students. Coming from a state, Michigan, that has all experiences all four seasons also, this story brings back memories of my own childhood and the scenes of wildlife in preparation for winter and the feeding of deers, birds, rabbits, etc. The story is very strong in the sequence of events from season to season and the signs of the changing season.
Math - Sequence of events, number of month in a year, seasons. Science - Region study of weather, animal hiberation techniques, winter survival, how snow is made and maybe a habitat study. Social Studies - Regions and their seasons, map skills, topography,
Art - Snow pictures, animals, forest homes,
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic book about winter and animals for today's children, May 17 2001
By 
Volkert Volkersz (Snohomish County, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Snow (Hardcover)
This 1949 Caldecott Award winning book--for illustrations--has stood the test of time and still finds appeal among today's children. While kids may notice that not every page has color illustrations, it does not prevent them from being drawn into the story line beginning with the wild geese flying south signaling that it's time for the other animals to prepare for winter or to leave as well.
New teachers and parents may not be aware of this timeless classic which can be used with primary age students in talking about late autumn, deep winter or even Groundhog's Day! Although the animals have anthropomorphic qualities, their speech is congruent with what they would actually be "thinking" during this season. For example, Mrs. Chipmunk says, "...it's getting cold. It's time for me to retire." It's not as corny as it sounds, and any adult reading "The Big Snow" aloud to children may want to give each animal's "voice" a quality resembling its actual sound.
This children's classic works on many levels, not the least of which is connecting today's children with a book loved by many previous generations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woodland Animal Preparations for Winter Are Upset by Snow!, May 16 2001
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Snow (Paperback)
This book won the Caldecott Medal as the best illustrated American children's book in 1949. The book's color and black-and-white water color illustrations convey a cross between realistic images of animals and anthropomorphic facial expressions and poses. Each is done in a way that evokes the beauty of nature. Think of this book as having more realistic versions of Walt Disney's Bambi images.
The story serves several purposes. First, it recounts how many different animals prepare for winter. The geese fly south, which alerts the other animals to prepare as well. Most will grow heavier coats if they have fur. Some have grown fat on summer and fall food and will hibernate. Some will hibernate all winter, and others for only a few weeks. We even get the groundhog legend of groundhog's day included here. Others will stay awake all winter, and will search the woods for food. Others, like squirrels, have been storing food. The animals described also include rabbits, chipmunks, robins, cardinals, song sparrows, blue birds, wood rats, crows, wood mice, deer, skunks, raccoons, and owls. The winter habits of each species are described.
Then, the big snow comes and upsets those plans. The animals that do not hiberate and rely on getting food from the ground are suddenly hungry. How will they survive?
Fortunately, there are humans as well. An old man comes out to shovel his sidewalks. Soon after him, an old woman arrives to put out food for the animals on the sidewalks. The animals all congregate there. Both the old woman and the old man feed the animals throughout the winter, saving those ground-feeding animals from starvation.
This book is excellent for helping a child understand how we connect to nature, and what role we can play to help animals during the winter. Anyone who has fed birds in the winter has also fed squirrels (whether they wanted to or not). You obviously should follow the example set in this book and do some feeding as well. Be sure to feed throughout the entire winter, because the animals will become dependent on you and many are territorial. Also, they will need water if there is no open source nearby so fill your birdbath with warm water daily as well.
I also suggest you get a field guide to the animals that live in your area, so you can use the information here to spark curiosity in learning more about animal life. Naturally, you have to be able to identify the animals correctly as a first step, and field guides are very helpful for that purpose. If your child and you really enjoy this a lot, you might try bird watching with your child. Where the Birds Are is a good resource for finding great locations in your area.
Enjoy being part of the natural cycle of the seasons!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book to use in nature lesson, Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Snow (Hardcover)
This story takes you through the process of woodland creatures as they prepare for a cold winter season. The animals notice the geese flying south and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees which could only indicate one thing for them, winter is coming. The animals gather food, and build warm homes to cozy up in when the snow comes in.
This story is great for kindergarten children. The pictures are colorful and the text gives a great lesson in nature and how it works. Discussing what each animal would do to prepare for cold weather would be a fun activity to follow the reading of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend this book to anyone!, July 25 2014
By 
Mili Fay - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Snow (Kindle Edition)
I love this book. It shows how different woodland animals get ready for winter. Then an unexpected Big Snow storm causes plenty of trouble. Will the animals starve?

A truly beautiful book and a perfect solution to working on a budget. Not all of the illustrations are coloured, but I love the sketchy pencil illustrations. My favourite is a page spread of a squirrel trying to avoid the falling snow flakes.

I would recommend this book to anyone.

(A book club's pick.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Osage PTA President gives a thumbs up!, Sept. 29 2001
By 
~M-Chan (Kaiser, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Snow (Hardcover)
Beautiful illustrations! This is my seven year old son's
favorite book! I was so impressed with it that I bought
several copies to donate to our school library and to the local
public library! The story encourages children to think about
their environment and the wildlife that share the earth with
us. The charming illustrations really make the story come to
life. This is truly a timeless classic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Snow, Nov. 30 1999
By 
D. Brock (Manchester, Tennessee) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Snow (Paperback)
This is a beautiful story that brought back childhood memories of myself playing in the snow. As winter approaches the woodland, the animals prepare for it in their own unique way. The animals find that they have a couple of good friends that live on the hillside, when they put food out for them to eat after the big snow.
I recommend this book to anyone of any age, who loves the winter snows.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Educational, fun, and the art work is beautiful, June 11 1999
By 
~M-Chan (Kaiser, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Snow (Hardcover)
My four year old son loves this book, and so do I. We live on a bluff and enjoy feeding the wildlife, both in the winter and summer. This book taught my son more about the animals that we feed, and encouraged him to ask questions about them. We both enjoyed the illustrations.
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The Big Snow
The Big Snow by Elmer Hader (Paperback - Oct. 31 1993)
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