Sunday, October 6, 2013

Big Snow by Jonathan Bean

Big Snow by Jonathan Bean

Rating: 4 stars

Last week when I should have been zipping to my yoga class, I stopped at the library to pick up this book.  It was recently released, and I was on a long hold list, so I was pretty excited to see that it was en route to our local library earlier than I expected (yup, you read that right: nerdy me checks the status of holds to see when exactly I'll be getting my hands on certain books I'm nerdily excited about).  So after the kids were tucked in bed and before my yoga class, I ran into the library to check this out.

We are huge, huge fans of Jonathan Bean--especially of Building Our House.  I follow his blog so I'd heard a lot of chatter from him and kidslit critics about Big Snow.  My hopes were high!

And he did not disappoint.
Small flakes fell softly, white and fine.

Young David (my guess is he's about 4) lives in what seems to be one of the many small towns off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  You laugh, but drive along there and look out, and you'll see the same image as what's in Bean's book--a modest, nondescript town at the foot of rolling hills that sure looks like a solid, safe place to slowly wonder, dream, and grow up.

He is really, really excited about the fact that it's going to snow today, yet he impatiently wants the snow to have fallen five minutes ago while simultaneously wanting information about why the snow isn't falling, if it'll be big snow, and how much snow big snow will entail.  I have another such question-asker in my house, so...I admire David's mother's patience in answering her son and providing distractions for him.

Yet he's so snow obsessed that the flour he's adding to the cookies makes him think of snow.  The suds in the tub he's cleaning make him think of snow.  The white sheets on the bed make him think of snow.

He tried to shovel away the drifts,
but the snow just fell heavier.
In a bit of literary unrealistic-ness (at least in my naps-ain't-cool house), David manages to gulp down his impatience and excitement and take a nap.

His dream combines his reality of helping his mom clean the house and his hope of big snow: there's a blizzard-like big snow inside their house, and David helps shovel it out while his mom tries to vacuum it up (love that image!).  Then his father's stomping feet coming home from work early wake him, and his father invites David to check out the big snow for himself.

The small family of three dresses for the big snow and goes to explore it, together.  Simple stuff--that's what the rich fabric of life consists of.  Little moments, thoughtful conversation, modest explorations, quiet hand-holding.  Once again Jonathan Bean gives us a tiny, rich slice of the good stuff of life.

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