________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 10 . . . . November 6, 2009


Perfect Snow.

Barbara Reid.
Toronto, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2009.
30 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-98577-2.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Valerie Nielsen.

**** /4


It came in the night.

"Perfect!" said Scott.

"SNOW!" said Jim.


In Perfect Snow, award-winning artist and author Barbara Reid has surpassed herself in the detail and vibrancy of her unique illustrative style. It is a simple winter-morning-in-Canada sort of story, starting with the delight which two boys, six-year-old Scott and 10-year-old Jim, express as they wake to a snowy world. In the school yard, it is each for himself to begin with; however, by recess time, the whole school is involved in helping to build "The World's Greatest Totally Massive Snowman Fort" as planned and directed by the Scott and Jim.

     Barbara Reid's brilliant work with plasticine sculpture is well-known and loved among readers of picture books. Since 1985, when she won the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats International Award for her first published book, The New Baby Calf, the author-illustrator has been a runner-up for, or winner of, more than a dozen other prestigious awards, including the 1997 Governor General's Literary Award for The Party.

internal art

     Reid's boldly-coloured illustrations fairly jump off the page at the reader with their three-dimensional quality and amazing attention to detail. In Perfect Snow, Reid has shown an uncanny ability to depict emotion and humour in the facial expressions of the characters in her story. Her narrative is, as usual, simple and perfectly appropriate to the age of her audience, without a soupcon of condescension. Between the illustrations and the text, there is much to mull over and chuckle at (comic suggestion being a forte of the author).

     In Perfect Snow, Reid introduces a new art style using ink and watercolour to create panels of drawings which appear on many of the pages. These drawings insinuate a cheeky humour while enhancing the story by adding bits of the action which do not appear in the text. As well, they often illuminate both character interaction and theme in the story.

     Reid's books have been translated and published in 10 countries including Germany, Finland, China and Thailand. She has been quoted as saying, "Combining writing and illustration is like swimming in the dark——it's a little frightening and a lot of fun. I can't imagine a better job." Children around the world are very fortunate that she loves her job and can be counted on to keep on writing and illustrating her remarkable books.

Highly Recommended.

A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.