Winter Books for Littles

It’s snowing like crazy here today, so it seems like a good day to review some good books for children about winter. Let me know if you have other favorites we should check out!

“The Mitten” by Jan Brett is a great book about winter. In this adaptation of a traditional Ukrainian folk tale, animal after animal climbs into a boy’s lost white mitten until finally one sneezes and the stretched out mitten flies into the air to be found by the boy. The best part of this book, as with all of Jan Brett’s books, is the charming and detailed set of illustrations. Each page has a wonderful border and pictures within pictures that will really captivate your kids. We have the board book edition, which is good because this book gets a lot of mileage at our house!

“It’s Snowing!” is a simple story of a mother showing her baby the delights of a midnight snowfall. The illustrations are really wonderful and expressive. The book also makes a good bedtime story, because after the mother shows the baby all about snow, she quiets him down and rocks him back to sleep.

In “The Three Snow Bears” Jan Brett tweaks the Goldilocks story to make it about a little girl who stumbles on the igloo of three snow bears. She tries out their breakfast, tries on their boots, and falls asleep in the little snow bear’s bed before the bears come home and find her. We always enjoy Jan Brett’s detailed illustrations and have fun looking at the sidebar illustrations while we read.

I mentioned “The Snowy Day” in my Christmas books for kids post, but it’s worth noting again because it’s perfect for this time of year. The little boy in the story has a grand time playing outside in the snow, and the illustrations have a cool 1960s feel with lots of texture and detail that really add to the book. We have Josh’s childhood copy of the book, but it’s still available for purchase and in libraries, probably because it’s such a good book!

Much like “Snowmen at Christmas,” “Snowmen at Night” follows the imaginary adventures of a bunch of snowmen (and snow-mamas and snow-babies and snow-dogs) who get together to drink cold cocoa and play snowmen games and go ice skating and all sorts of fun things. The illustrations for this book are hilarious. I love the pictures of the snowmen picking up their pieces and hauling their friends home on toboggans after snow game injuries! (I also reviewed this one in the Christmas books post)

“Gingerbread Baby” is a fun story of a little boy who doesn’t follow the directions when he bakes a gingerbread baby. The gingerbread baby runs away and goes nuts about the countryside being chased by everyone until the little boy tricks him back inside. The book is based on the “can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man” tale. The illustrations are fantastic and will occupy kids for a long time.

“Brave Irene” by William Steig is a great book about a snowstorm and perseverance. This fun and instructive story begins when Irene’s mother, a dressmaker, is too ill to deliver a ball gown to the duchess at the palace. Irene decides to go in her mother’s place, and battles fierce wind and deep snow while carrying the large box containing the dress. When the wind snatches the dress, Irene is tempted to despair, but she shows determination and resolve by continuing on, and finds the dress just outside the palace in time for the ball. Very expressive drawings and well-written text will make this book a favorite for parents and children.

An unusual book, “Arctic Fives Arrive” teaches counting by fives as groups of different arctic animals join up on an iceberg to watch the Northern Lights together. The text rhymes, and includes some good vocabulary choices. The illustrations, while simple, are pleasant and the lack of superfluous detail makes it easier for children to count the animals as they arrive and depart.

Jan Brett’s delightful illustrations make “Gingerbread Friends” especially engaging. A little gingerbread boy goes around his little Swiss town looking for friends, and is disappointed by what he finds until he gets home to discover that the little boy who made him has also made him a bunch of gingerbread friends. You can spend a long time looking at all the detailed pictures within pictures of winter in Switzerland, and you’ll also enjoy the fun story.

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