Friday, November 19, 2010

Picture That! Picture Book of the Week

Snow flurries fell again this morning, so I figured it was the right time to feature another one of my favorite snowy books for this week's Picture Book. As the category suggests, there are some Picture Books whose artwork is so compelling that it becomes the story. This is the case for my choice this week. Enjoy.

Is That You, Winter? by Stephen Gammell
(Harcourt 1997)

Old Man Winter wakes up grumpy as he heads off to work, covering the ground with snow as it falls from from the back of his beat-up clunker of a pick-up truck. After taking a nasty spill on the slippery road and falling into a snow bank, he begins to wonder why he even makes it snow in the first place.

In a wonderful shift in perspective, Old Man Winter is seen to be a toy, discovered by a little girl bundled for the weather. Despite her friends taunting, the little girl adores this ratty toy and the snow he brings just for her and can't wait to enjoy the day with her old friend.

This is a joyful book that's part folklore and part Toy Story. It certainly works best when time is taken to thoroughly pour over every detail. The sparse text really serves as a means to enhance Gammell's truly glorious illustrations. Few artists have the rare ability to create entire new worlds in their paintings and Stephen Gammell is certainly one of them. His style incorporates so much movement that the pictures seem to jump from the page and come to life. Perfect for a cold day, preferably after playing in the snow until you're half-frozen.

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