↠´ Read ó The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats Ë Always having loved winter, freezing temperatures and naturally also looking at and playing in the snow and indeed, considerablythan ANY other season, but in particular and especially absolutely and vehemently despising most of the summer with its high heat and horrible, sticky and clammy humidexes I am actuallythan somewhat frustrated and disappointed that because I was born in Germany and lived in Germany until I was ten years old when my family immigrated to Canada , I actually never did have the opportunity to experience Ezra Jack Keats The Snowy Day as a child and indeed only first heard about The Snowy Day and read it a couple of years ago for a Goodreads Children s Literature Group read But even as an older and indeed often exceedingly intellectual and critical adult reader, nevertheless, The Snowy Day although definitely simple in concept and execution and as such of course primarily geared towards the very young was and remains a totally evocatively magical and sweetly wonderful, and yes also a personally nostalgic reading event to and for me, reminding me with its basic but still profoundly touching marriage of sparsely descriptive text and accompanying glorious images of the magic of winter, of the many joys of playing in the snow, of how much winter as a season has always meant to me and how much I absolutely love love love pictorial renderings of snow and that the pure whiteness of snow will always totally and absolutely trump spring, summer and even most of autumn, except perhaps the painted red and yellow foliage of October and November forests.
Now quickly this morning rereading The Snowy Day and bien s r feasting my eyes on the stark but beautifully evocative and magical mounds of snow and on little Peter in his orange snowsuit enjoying his playtime, his day outside romping around and celebrating winter , well this certainly has made me feel physically considerably cooler, refrehsed and less heat bothered with our current hot and humid Southern Ontario summer weather than either my fans or even truth be told my air conditioning unit even remotely can and are able to achieve And while I do realise that there has supposedly been sometimes a bit of controversy with regard to The Snowy Day, as the main character, Peter, is African American, and author illustrator Ezra Jack Keats is not, sorry, but there is at least in my humble opinion nothing even remotely problematic or issue heavy here by any stretch of the imagination For The Snowy Day is simply and wonderfully the delightful story of one small and eponymous young boy having fun in the snow, enjoying his winter playtime outside and that he happens to be African American is just a simple fact of life and I for one in fact and indeed also massively do applaud Ezra Jack Keats in so far that young Peter s ethnicity is basically and naturally shown and depicted in The Snowy Day, but is NEVER in any way belaboured or made much of, as Peter really is just a little boy having fun, and he could be any little boy, in fact he could be any little child, with his ethnicity and indeed if one were to go even further, also his gender being of no real significance whatsoever Five stars Here are the things I discovered about Mr H, my grandson with this book He wants to skiHe s four years old and has never seen anyone ski in real life Also, Mr H is hoping for lots and lots of snow this winterhe doesn t have to shovel And last, he loves this book and Peter is his new friend Now, if you will excuse us, Mr H has discovered the joy of making footprints in the play doughwhile standing on the table.
Until The Snowy Day published in 1963 , American children s books featured white children as the heroes if you know of one that didn t, I d love to hear about it In the biography on his website, Ezra Jack Keats says Then began an experience that turned my life around working on a book with a black kid as hero None of the manuscripts I d been illustrating featured any black kids except for token blacks in the background My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along.
Besides being culturally groundbreaking, opening up children s literature to some of the marginalized citizens in our society, The Snowy Day is a beautiful book that perfectly captures the wonder and joy that can be found outside on a snowy day yes, even in the city A couple years ago, Kevin took me to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for my birthday, and we got to see original pages from this book It was amazing to see the original cutouts, watercolor, and collage in person Illustrations that looked like a consistent whole in the published book turned out to be separate pieces of paper fit and intricately glued together It just goes to show, things that seem so polished and perfect always have an underside with details we can t even begin to imagine.
With that in mind, I ll close with a story on Keats website that I loved Keats was in school during the Depression, and his father tried to discourage him from focusing on art He wanted him to do somethingpractical that would earn money In 1935, when Keats father died of a heart attack, he had to go through his father s belongings I found myself staring deep into his my father s secret feelings There in his wallet were worn and tattered newspaper clippings of the notices of the awards I had won My silent admirer and supplier, he had been torn between his dread of my leading a life of hardship and his real pride in my work.
One of the great children s classics, and one of my kid s favorite books, and one of mine too I love the beautiful art the snowflakes on the last page, and the pattern on Peter s mom s dress I love how uncalculated it is, how little it seems to be trying It operates on a young kid s wavelength This year around the holiday season there were Snowy Day stamps, and every card we got that had one, my kid got all excited Nowy Day he would yell.
There s a statue of Peter and his dog, by the way, at a quirky little playground in a corner of Brooklyn s Prospect Park Here it is If you want to visit, it s called the Imagination Playground, and it s right behind the LeFrak Center where you go ice skating Be forewarned that the dog is extremely well endowed.
Yeah, I too find that judgment questionable So anyway it finally snows and we re all excited, right We point out the window Nowy Day And we bundle him all up and we take him outside for his very first snowy day, and he s like Dirty, he says Pointing at snow that hasn t even hit the ground yet Dirty Cold outside He is having none of it.
So look, five stars for literature but if we were rating it on how good its case for snowy days actually is, I m afraid my kid would tell us that it s fiction.
The Snowy Day is a Caldecott Medal Award winning book by Ezra Jack Keats that details Peter s adventures on a snowy day The Snowy Day is clearly one of Ezra Jack Keats most enchanting books for children Ezra Jack Keats has done a great job at both illustrating and writing this story Ezra Jack Keats illustrations are truly creative and colorful to look at as the characters and the environment surrounding them look like something cut out of a cardboard as the characters and the environment around them look block shaped Also, Ezra Jack Keats illustrations are extremely beautiful as they truly capture the beauty and essence of a snow day as the snowy world around Peter is covered in white and Peter looks extremely cute in his red snowsuit as he has a small hood that is pointed at the top, which greatly reflects the retro style of the 60s since this book was made during the 60s Ezra Jack Keats makes this story simple yet powerful since the story details the adventures that Peter has on his snow day in such a vivid way, especially the passage where it mentions how Peter tries to make tracks in the snow with his feet, which I thought was very inventive since I have never read a picture book that contains a phrase where children track their feet in the snow to get a feeling of the snow The Snowy Day is a perfect book for children who also enjoy the beauty of a snowy day and many children will definitely enjoy this book for many years I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.
Review is also on Rabbit Ears Book Blog
I loved this book I wanted to read something about winter and snow I miss having snow and I miss Michigan The artwork is quiet and muted like snow It is simple and really helps set the tone of the story This is for younger kids or kids of all ages It is simply told which again sets the tone perfectly.
As we read this book, the kids would say, I ve done that , or we made snow angels this years or We didn t have enough snow this year to make our own snowman They enjoyed it.
I like this little winter story that reminds me of the joys of snow as a kid It s not about trudging to work and cleaning off your car It s about seeing where you walk in the snow and snow angels and building snow men It s the fun part of snow.
Gosh, this cover just takes me back to my childhood I don t know that the book was ever a favorite of mine, but I do remember the little boy in his snowsuit I was obsessed with that snowsuit and his fun in the snow I ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Ezra Jack Keats and have read several of Peter s stories through the years.
I still adore Peter s excitement over the snow, and the simple but loving way his story is told It really captures the child s joy in the little things making ones footprints go like this, then like that finding a stick and knocking snow out of a tree Love the snowflakes at the end And I still love that snowsuit.
Ezra Jack Keats was a children s writer illustrator primarily active during the 60s 70s He was the 3rd child of Polish Jewish immigrants and lived much of his life in his native Brooklyn, NYC I could go on about that but what I want to focus on is this book and Mr Keats literary canon in relation to me in the 1990s The book is a very simple tale of a little boy who goes out and explores his neighborhood in the snow nothing complicated So why is this book so celebrated 49 years later Well, simply because this book, being written in the POV of the author s neighborhood, features the first modern African American protagonist in children s literature His name is Peter and this is the first award winning book in EJK s Peter Trilogy Fast forward to the mid 90s I am a young African American in school and this book, along with Dr Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, and Shel Silverstein, are some of the first books I read in school although Dr Seuss was introduced even earlier, most likely by my mom Mr Keats work always stood out to me and my classmates and we would read the majority of them in time It was very unique, artistically and with me and my peers being majority African American, had characters we could relate to and that made the world looknatural to us than it actually was Most of the characters in EJK work were Black, Brown, and let s say off White not many Anglo Saxons in Brooklyn at the time the book was written It is a shame that he is not talked about, or read , but that is the world s loss I feel fortunate to have came across his talent, and if I am to be blessed with the nuisance of children one day, Keats will be read in my house both John and Ezra