In Keats’ beloved classic, a little boy enjoys the wonder of his first snowfall. Peter wakes up to see snow covering everything as far as the eye can see. After breakfast, he ventures outside and plays in the snow, making snow angels, playing with footprints, making a snowman, and climbing a mountain. He goes home and tells his mother about his day, takes a warm bath, discovers that the snowballs he saved in his pockets are gone, and goes to sleep, only to wake up to another snowy day. The groundbreaking book was the first picture book to feature an African-American child as the hero of his own story and is still popular with audiences of all cultures and backgrounds today; it is the story of a child enjoying a snowy day – preschoolers will enjoy thinking about their favorite snowy day and appreciate moments that Peter experiences that may be familiar to them: the feeling of snow hitting him on the head, getting hit with a snowball when he tries to play with older boys, and the feeling of a nice, warm bath when he gets home.
Mr. Keats used illustrations consisting of cut-outs, varied textures, strong watercolors, geometric shapes, and collages, was also considered an artistic breakthrough. The images are not outlined, giving making for a softer appearance and will keep young audiences interested while the plain black font allows for a read-aloud that will keep audiences interested in the pictures while the reader weaves the tale. The endpapers provide a comfortable lead-in and phase-out to the story, with multi-colored snowflakes on a sponge-like background. Peter also appears in Keats’ books Peter’s Chair; A Letter to Amy; and Goggles!
The Snowy Day has won numerous awards and accolades over the last 50 years, including the Caldecott Medal (1963) and the Child Study Children’s Book Committee (1995).
This would be a great anchor story for a winter/snowy day read-aloud. There is a board book version available for even younger audiences; it may be a good idea to have copies on hand for toddlers who want to follow along. Multicultural audiences will appreciate the African-American main character. The author’s website has an interactive version of the story with narration and a soundtrack that should be accessible on library computers. The Perry Public Library’s Snow & Winter storytime offers ideas, fingerplays and songs; children can talk about their favorite snow days and could color snow-related printables available on many children’s websites. Children could use precut shapes to make and decorate their own snowmen.