CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006
Who Likes the Snow? (Exploring the Elements).
Etta Kaner. Illustrated by Marie Lafrance.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2006.
32 pp., cloth, $14.95.
Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.
Review by Cheryl Archer.
I like the snow because sometimes it crunches when I walk on it.
I wonder why snow makes a crunching sound.
Snow only crunches when it's very cold outside. When it's very cold, the snow crystals that make snowflakes are very hard. They break easily. When you walk, your boots press on the snow crystals. This breaks the crystals. The crystals breaking is the crunching sound you hear.
Most youngsters love snow, especially the first snowfall of the season. In Who Likes the Snow? --the second book in Kids Can Press's “Exploring the Elements” series--young readers can explore both the wonder and science of snow.
The book's vibrant cover and end-pages depict children tobogganing and creating snow angels...and so the fun begins. On the first page, the title of the book is repeated: Who likes the snow? The response is to be discovered behind a flap on the following page: I do! I do! I do! say the children as they fly down a snowy hill on sleds, toboggans and magic carpets. And the book continues in this format with "I like snow because..." statements and illustrations on left pages and "I wonder why..." questions on the right. These questions are answered behind the flaps--a great strategy to encourage readers to interact with the book. Important science concepts such as why it snows, why snow is white and why snow crunches are explained by Kaner (behind the flaps) in short, simple sentences that will appeal to the youngest of snow scientists. The first person narrative is also a nice touch that will engage young readers.
Colourful acrylic illustrations convey a sense of movement as well as wonder, whether outdoors catching snowflakes on a mitten or indoors looking out at the snowy landscape. Lafrance has also kept these illustrations simple (rather than too busy) in their composition, and this simplicity, as well as the pure joy shown on faces, will appeal to youngsters. The flap design is excellent--scientific explanations and their illustrations are tucked under the flaps while each two-page spread consists of one illustration which ensures that the book flows smoothly in a visual sense.
Even though the science concepts have been kept simple, several of the explanations may require further exploration with an adult. For instance, children may wonder how it is that holes in snow can trap sounds.
Finally, the book ends with another question: Why do "you" like the snow? This should encourage readers to think more deeply about why they enjoy snow, or perhaps they'll even flip back through the book to review the many good reasons for appreciating that white stuff that covers much of Canada every winter. And, for the most part, the reasons presented are child-friendly i.e. I like the snow because I can use my new shovel.
An avalanche of information as well as a love of snow is conveyed in just 32 pages in Who Likes the Snow? Youngsters will enjoy this flap book, and even jaded adults, who have had it with navigating slippery winter roads, scraping car windows, and shoveling driveways, may decide that snow isn't so bad after all...especially while sharing Who Likes the Snow? with a child.
Cheryl Archer, author of Snow Watch, still loves a good snowfall as well as "snow days" in Alberta.
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