An energetic, ginger-haired boy can’t wait to play out in the snowy park, but his grandfather takes so long to get ready that the whole neighborhood gets there first—even a crew of animals. An elephant, ostrich, giraffe, walrus, penguin, and monkeys all play around with the boy, his grandfather, and the other children (“Grandad won the snowball fight six slushings to four”). While the story is featherlight, Usher’s ink-and-watercolor cartoons have a loose energy that plants them firmly in the Quentin Blake tradition. In keeping with the anything-can-happen sense of possibility that governs snow days, Usher leaves it to readers to decide whether the animals are real or imagined. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Snow has a way of reshaping our reality, and it’s in that sensation of wonder that Usher’s truth lies. He has created the feeling that when it snows, something unexpected and magical might lurk outdoors; perhaps even a hippo or two.
—The New York Times
With toys coming to life, all the fun in the snow, and the lovely child-grandparent relationship, this is a welcome addition to the winter bookshelf.
Usher’s gorgeous illustrations in ink and watercolor complement the story to a tee. An outrageous outdoor romp to add to storytimes about snow and winter fun.
—School Library Journal
The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are expressive and convey the allure of a white-swathed, winter wonderland...This slight yet pleasing story will have readers wishing for a snowfall of their own.
While the story is featherlight, Usher’s ink-and-watercolor cartoons have a loose energy that plants them firmly in the Quentin Blake tradition.
In this exuberant picture book in watercolor and ink, British illustrator Sam Usher captures the delicious sense of anticipation of a snow day, then adds elephants and monkeys and "all the games you can play in the snow" to launch it into the stratosphere.
PreS-Gr 2—A young boy wakes up to find the world covered in pure, white snow. Frantic to go outside, he gets dressed in record time only to discover that Granddad isn't ready! Mundane adult tasks, such as showering and getting the proper clothing on, delay his longed-for departure. His panic builds as he watches the blanket of virgin snow get trampled by a single child, followed by a crowd of friends, and then a pack of dogs. Growing ever more frustrated, the poor kid actually thinks that he sees a monkey running across the snow, but that can't be, can it? After an agonizing wait, boy and Granddad head out to play and encounter not only his friends but an elephant, ostrich, and other outlandish animals culminating in a great and wacky snow day for all. Kids will easily relate to the excruciating wait for fun when grown-ups are involved. The appearance of the exotic animals playing in the snow (the result of the boy's stuffed animals coming to life) is jarring and took a second reading to grasp. Usher's gorgeous illustrations in ink and watercolor complement the story to a tee. VERDICT An outrageous outdoor romp to add to storytimes about snow and winter fun.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI
With untouched snow outside, all a boy wants to do is to go to the park, but there is an obstacle. While the boy gets ready, desperate to be the first child out in the snow, Granddad is reading in bed. He finally rises, but another child got there before him—and then a whole mob of them. Granddad insists on scarves and hats while putting on his own vest and tie. After all, decorum is important in this British import. While the child grows glum, bitterly remarking that even "all the cats and dogs were out there," Granddad has the wit to observe that "the whole zoo was probably out there." Little do they know that there is a menagerie having a snowball fight in a perfectly ordinary park. An elephant, a giraffe, and a walrus are among the participants, but the monkey and the penguin look familiar. Were they in the house? Usher uses large expanses of white space that increasingly show the traffic in the snow. His quirky ink-and-watercolor drawings are full of cavorting children and animals. A double-page spread depicting a calm elephant in a stocking hat, a girl and a frisky monkey perched on his tusks, is particularly amusing. Granddad looks wary, but he soon flings snowballs with the rest. With toys coming to life, all the fun in the snow, and the lovely child-grandparent relationship, this is a welcome addition to the winter bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-6)