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All You Need for a Snowman


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About the Author

ALICE SCHERTLE is a well-known poet with many picture books to her credit, including Down the Road, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, and William and Grandpa, which won the Christopher Award. She lives in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. BARBARA LAVALLEE is the illustrator of Mama, Do You Love Me?, which won a Golden Kite Award. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


While this deceptively simple book starring children building a snowman is ultimately about community-how human beings, no matter how small, can help each other create something bigger than themselves-youngsters will find the lilting language and action-filled illustrations to be just plain fun. Schertle's (How Now, Brown Cow?) text deftly describes what goes into making a snowman: "Billions of snowflakes/ piled in a mound,/ pat them/ and pack them/ and roll them/ around/ into one big ball." Her refrain-"That's all you need for a snowman. Except..."-encourages readers to turn the page for each new component. The watercolors, meanwhile, feature children in padded winter jackets who work together. As in childhood, the snowman looms larger than life. As they roll that "one big ball," for example, the children appear to be hugging the edge of a snow-white planet. They place saucer-size bottle caps on the snowman's face-"Surprise!/ Snowman's eyes!"-and add a broom taller than a house. The completed snowman is so huge that the book needs to be turned sideways to view it. Lavallee's illustrations, in the style of her work in Mama, Do You Love Me?, emphasize the children's profiles, shadowing one half of each face as if each character possessed both light and dark skin. A wintertime treat. Ages 2-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

PreS-Working cooperatively, the children of this snow-clad chalet village build two huge snowmen. In colorful winter clothing, these plump and squat kids, with their two-toned faces, swarm the white pages as step-by-step they create a snowman so big that readers must turn the page sideways for a full view. The text is bouncy and light, and rolls along like hand-packed snow. A heavy use of the word "except" entices children on to the next page. Finally, they see two snowmen of Paul Bunyan proportions. The skill of both the author and the artist gives this book energy. Toddlers will be thoroughly satisfied.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

[set star] "Youngsters will find the lilting language and the action-filled illustrations to be just plain fun . . . A wintertime treat."--Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A treat in text and pictures to be read again and again."--Kirkus Reviews

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