December 11, 2020

Snow Days

Written by Deborah Kerbel
Illustrated by Miki Sato
Pajama Press
24 pp.
Ages 2-5
November 2020

In modest rhyming text and textured paper-collage artwork, Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato invite young children and their families to join them outdoors to celebrate and explore the snow of winter.
From Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
First snow, surprise snow:
Nature's sparkly magic show
Deborah Kerbel begins her story with the delight of children taking in the first snow of the season. With arms upraised and mouths agape, perhaps to catch a few of Miki Sato's extraordinary snowflakes, the warmly-dressed children revel in the splendour of the snow. Of course, in Canada, there will be more snow days, and the next brings a little more that accumulates and allows for snow angels, both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties.

From Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
There's skating and watching snow fall from the warmth of inside, shovelling and building snowmen, sliding down banks and throwing snowballs. And always,  Deborah Kerbel shines some attention on the different kinds of snow. Whether it be powder snow or packing snow, blizzard snow or Christmas snow–a particularly special kind– or even frozen snow and slush and sleet, Deborah Kerbel invites little ones to savour each as a sensory experience of touch and feel.
From Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Miki Sato
But winter always comes to an end.
Last snow, tame and shy,
Winter's quiet wave goodbye
With the receding snow allowing snowdrops and the first crocuses to shoot, Deborah Kerbel lets us see the turnover to the next season, resplendent in its own emerging glories.

Miki Sato's three-dimensional illustrations, created with cut-paper collage, reflects Deborah Kerbel's textured text, making us feel the iciness of packed snow and the dampness of mittens, amidst the piles of different snows. Just as each snow day is different, Miki Sato's children and landscapes are as varied and diverse. Who interacts with the snow are a few adults but mostly children of all ages, colours, and abilities, including a young child with skates on the wrong feet and one with glasses. As for the snow itself, it blankets parklands and backyards, congests driveways and brings Christmas to dense housing divisions.
With our own snow days upon us, enjoy Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato's exploration in words and art and even consider the handful of experiments for very young children suggested at the end. It may be a little cold and get a little wet but the adventure will be worth it.

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