Why Is the Snow White?

Why Is the Snow White? tr. from German by Rebecca K. Morrison. illus. by Silke Leffler. 32p. NorthSouth. 2012. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-0-7358-4092-8.
PreS-Gr 3—Following the cadence of a soothing pattern book, this story's strength is its story-within-a-story structure. A girl and her father sit in a deep bay window under a warm blanket and watch the snow falling. She asks her father to tell her a "window fairy tale." Readers in turn visualize their special story places. "Do you know why the snow is white?" the father begins, and his daughter "snuggles down and draws her toes in beneath the blanket." The quiet excitement of burrowing into a long tale is priceless. It turns out that Father Snow wasn't always white. He started out colorless in a meadow of beautiful, colorful flowers. Indeed, the illustrations render him as just a pencil sketch with a long beard and snowflakes in his pockets. Small and slight in stature among the looming flowers, loud and lovely in mixed media of gouache, watercolor, collage and stamps, he first asks the violets if he can have some of their color. They exclaim how pretty violet snow would be, but in the end covet their color, "But I…I need my color." All the other flowers follow suit until he meets the snowdrop, who is finally willing to share. An exalting transformation is described, but not shown sufficiently in the illustrations. Nevertheless, the implicit question of whether we have enough to share is timely and relevant. The cyclical ending invites all readers to create their own story of why the snow is white.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City

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