The Snowy Day

ISBN: 0590757709
ISBN 13: 9780590757706
By: Ezra Jack Keats

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Caldecott Children Children's Children's Books Childrens Childrens Books Kids Picture Book Picture Books To Read

Reader's Thoughts

Lindsay Bunchman

I like to introduce this book to younger children and emphasize its significance to American history since it was the first picture book published about an African American child. The story is simple, cute, and can relate to any child. For older children, this book encourages a discussion about the cultural ambiguity of the story and whether or not it was necessary because of the time in which it was published. Example questions are: Was the first step just getting a black character on the page and then authors could worry about adding cultural significance later? Was Keats making a significant step by telling a story that could relate to almost every American boy or girl in order to prove that there should be no difference?

Charlie George

Another one where it is difficult to put my finger on why it is so good. This one in particular is warmly familiar from the forgotten days of early childhood, which helps it out a lot. I like that it is about a child from the projects, whose friend lives in the apartment across the hall. I like that it is set in the big city, rather than some idealized, rustic rural paradise, or ghod forbid the suburbs. Of course I like most of all that it's about snow. More specifically it is about what great fun can be had in the snow as a kid. I think that's it right there. It captures the whole experience, the rare, exhilerating experience where I'm from, of a day off school, playing in the snow. And further capitalizes on this after his sad dream where the snow all melts like the snowball in his pocket, only to wake up and find even more snow the next day. It ends on the promise of more joy, right at the apex of excitement, before the novelty has worn off. A number of my happiest childhood memories took place playing in the snow, so it was prescient of my mum to expose me to this friendly book so early, planting a seed that would later blossom.

Holly Reed

"The Snowy Day" particularly stands out in my mind because of its beautiful illustrations. They are adorable and still cool to look at--yet they are so simple! I am very impressed by Keats's work. The storyline is pretty simple as well--but that does not render it meaningless. Many children have probably done just as Peter did, bringing snow inside their warm home in hopes that it will last for ever. And of course it melts--but that's not the end of the story! Keats comforts readers in that the world does not end with that little snowball melting; Peter has much more snow to play in the next day just the same! "The Snowy Day" is a cute story with a comforting message. Finally, I thought the book was designed very well; for example, at one point Keats writes out the word s-l-o-w-l-y to convey just what speed at which Robert is walking. Also, certain parts of sentences are moved to their own page to match the illustrations, teaching young readers about language and storylines. "The Snowy Day" is a very well thought-out picture book that is delightful to look at and read.


Looking at this book actually made me tear up a little. Going through some boxes I saw this lying at the bottom and was instantly transported across space and time to my childhood. I remembered for the first time in many many years a time when I was innocent, and a certain clarity that this novel brought me.You might be sneering or contorting your face in some representation of disbelief, (stop doing that btw, it’s not flattering) but stay with me for a second and let me explain.It was my second week of the second grade when I was given this book to read for the first time. It was during the origin of my parent’s marital dysfunction, the first of many intermissions in their terrible attempt at matrimony. We had just moved in with my aunt and cousins, and this was my second week adjusting to Harrison, an inner city school with great caring teachers and not enough text books or funding to foster the vast amounts of potential that filled its halls. It was close enough to the “hood” that no one cared to offer assistance or even update the curriculum, because we were all going to grow up to be degenerates anyway. A far cry from the school I used to attend in my father’s suburban neighborhood. The difference between institutions is something that will always stick out in my mind. At least the library was pretty decent though.I was further ahead in my learning than my classmates because of the differences in curriculum and got to go to the library for something to do. Walking through the library alone I drew the attention of the librarian. She came over and started to help me. We picked a variety of different books to read later, one of which was “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats. I remember holding the book in my hand and marveling at the cover. That kid looked like me! And before holding that book, I never thought to think why that mattered. Before I opened the pages intrigued at the artwork, I feel ashamed now to expect the book to be bad, or somehow less. It wasn't. It was awesome, from the first page. In the book, a little boy, Peter, dons an orange jump suit and plays in the snow. He makes snowmen, snow angels, and marvels at the nature around him. He even attempts to take the snow inside, and watches it melt. The artwork is beautiful and fully captures the moments of Peter’s wintry adventure. Peter was my first hero of color. He was the first Black protagonist I had ever read. Peter was the star of this book. He wasn't a supporting character, a dark splotch in the background of the illustration, not the bully or bad guy. He alone was the whole reason for the book. My little mind was blown. This book was about me. I didn't even know that there were books about people like me, and even at that young age I had already fallen victim to the visual rhetoric displayed all around us. I dreamt of being like Peter, playing in large snowdrifts, and making snowmen like the little kids in the Frosty cartoon. Snow around my home at that point was never tall enough or just too filthy to play with, so I had never made a snowman or even knew what a snow angel was. This book sparked a time of adventure in me. It was a call to action, I could be anything, could do anything. I could take the world around me like young Peter, and manifest it into creations of my liking. I could make snowmen and angels. I could have epic Calvin and Hobbes-esque snow battles; I could do the things that the people on T.V. do.As I grew up there were other Black protagonists, like Black Panther, Luke Cage, and B.A. Baracus (who might not have been the star, but stole the show). But none of those characters controlled their whole world nor were they viable as actual people. Peter was great because his adventure could be a reality. Peter and I went on many adventures together.This small picture book unlocked dreams and visions that I never knew I had. It was the first book, independent of any real adult influence to touch me, and I will cherish that forever. Thank you Ezra Jack Keats.


The illustrations use the loveliest colors…read this to Lucas today on our own snow day here in South Dakota.

David Korsak

This book is about a boy who seems to love snow and wants to do anything and everything to play with and on it. This is what the text tells us about the story, but the pictures tell an entirely different story. The pictures tell us the boy has never seen snow before and when he goes to play outside he is all alone and when he tries to play with others he is more or less bullied away and told not to come back until he can stand up for yourself. At the end he tells his mother all about his adventures, but I’m sure he leaves out the part to where he was bullied and picked on by the bigger kids and also lonely. He may look like he had fun in the snow that day, but the pictures tell me he has no friends and his only looking to fit in. The only thing that doesn’t confirm my theory is the last page. The picture shows the boy standing with another boy who claims to be his friend. We will never know if this is a real friend or just a rouse. I thought this book is amazing because the pictures and text tell different stories, which is a a great sign of a good book.

Geneva Roberts

The Snowy Day is about the experience a young boy named Peter has on a snowy day. Peter plays in the snow making a snowman, some snow angels, and slides down a big pile of snow. He decides to put a snowball in his pocket to save for later and he goes into his house and takes a bath and is sad when he realizes it had melted. He dreams that the sun has melted all the snow outside and when he awakes he is pleased to find new snow is falling! He calls his friend to ask him to come along outside with him to play for another fun snow day. This book tells children the many ways snow can be enjoyed, and how heat can change objects. I enjoyed this book and will always remember it as the book that introduced me to Ezra Jack Keats and his amazing children's books and unique illustrations. about the author: Ezra Jack Keats was an American writer and illustrator of children's books. He won the very distinguished 1963 Caldecott Medal for illustrating The Snowy Day, which he also wrote. He was a young artist, born on March 11, 1916 growing up in East New York. He studied art in Paris and went on to become an illustrator for children's books and then he created Peter. When writing his own children's books, he introduced us to Peter, a young boy who had many adventures and would be featured in several of Keat's beloved books. The character of "Peter" began an experience that turned my life around,” he wrote, “working on a book with a black kid as hero. None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along. Keat's illustrations are known for being very unique in style. Although Keats never married or had a family of his own, he loved children, and was loved by them in return.


I picked this up at my library the other day and was amazed to see the 50th Anniversary sticker on the cover. Really? FIFTY? No matter, this lovely story is timeless and adorable and wonderful. May it live another 50 years... and more.2008 Truly classic, wonderful and timeless.


Illustrated by: Ezra Jack KeatsPublished: 1962Fiction, Picture bookSummary:This book is about a young boy named Peter and his adventures in the snow. When Peter wakes up, he looks outside his window and sees snow. He walks outside and makes tracks. He finds a stick and knocks the snow off a tree. Peter tries to join a snowball fight but knows he is too young so instead he makes a snowman and snow angels. He climbs up a mountain of snow and then slides down again. He tries to save handful of snow in his pocket before coming inside but the snow melts while he is taking a bath. He goes to sleep and dreams that the snow melts away but when he wakes up the next morning he realizes that it is snowing once more! He goes outside again to play in the fresh snow.Evaluation:This book would be a good transition book from emergent reader to early reader. The words are not too large and the text as a whole is rather short. There is no dialogue. Every page progresses the story further, but in manageable chunks and the plot is sweet and simple. There are good examples of onomatopoeia such as "crunch, crunch, crunch" for the sound of the new snow as Peter walks on it and "plop" for when the snow falls from the tree onto Peter's head. The word slowly is written s-l-o-w-l-y to represent its meaning. The illustrations are simple, almost like they are made from paper and glued to form the picture. The illustrator did not spend much time on the expressions or faces of the characters but it is obvious what is happening on each page. There is good proximity to text. Culturally, I like the the protagonist is African American. This is a cute, simple story that students would enjoy and be able to connect with.Discussion Questions:1) Before reading: Think about how you feel on a snow day? What do you like to do when it is snowing?2) Notice the words crunch and plop and how they are used in the story. What do you notice?3) What happened to the snow that Peter put in his pocket before going inside?


This was my first time reading this book and I thought it was great. The way the artist developed the illustrations are so different and interesting that it sets it apart from other books. I really like the story because it was relatable and you could see yourself doing the same things Peter was doing in the story or recall a time you had experienced the same things you were reading about in the story. The book is a good representation of the genre and the age group because it provides a sense of warmth and familiarity with the activities Peter engages in, there is unification between the text and illustrations, and the development of setting is integral to the story. The book is also appropriate for this age because it highlights everyday activities that kids would engage in if they were playing in the snow like Peter. I would use this book to talk about seasons with children or what happens to snow when it melts (why wasn't Peter's snowball in his pocket at the end of the day?) It is also a great book to read to children because the story and pictures are so engaging and fun to look at.


Summary: Peter wakes up to a snowy day outside. He walks and explores the snow, makes treads, and hits a tree, making snow fall on his head. He chooses to not join a snowball fight because he isn't big enough, yet, then he makes a snowman and snow angels, slides down a hill, and puts a big snowball in his pocket. He goes home to tell his mom about his adventures and before he goes to bed he checks his pocket for the snowball, only to find that it is gone! He dreams that it is sunny outside and the snow has melted, but there is more new snow outside when he wakes up, so he goes outside to play with his friend and make more snowballs.Evaluation: I liked this story a lot because it is exactly what little kids do in the snow and it has great descriptions so a kid who doesn't know what snow is like can see. There is a real love of snow that is shown in the pictures. I like Keats style of cut out art.

Michelle Martin

A wonderful book to introduce to children about the joy that snow can bring. Also children can learn about the different types of weather such as snowy, rainy, and windy. Children can learn about the different types of adventures they can experience on a snowy day such has making snow balls, snow men, and making footprints in the snow.Learning ExtensionHave a large group discussion about different types of weather such as snowy day, windy day, and rainy day. Then ask children which day is their favorite and why also the children can draw pictures of their favorite day.

Joel Wicecarver

The Snowy Day was not the strongest picture storybook for preschoolers. Some of the aspects which I believe dampened the sentiment the book attempted to create were through the use of paper machete as the visual media. I found this feature questioning as to why the author decided to use this particular media since it lacks shape. Without shape the book cannot definitely outline and direct the viewer to the feelings and ideas suggested. This ideal is represented in the interpretation of Jon Scienzcka view on the role of design, “Design is an essential part of any picture book”. Another aspect of the book’s design which I believed is used extremely well is the placement and font choice. I found this to be the factor that granted the intent of this book for preschoolers to be appropriate for the age group. However, a collage is the most popular illustration technique applied to books for preschooolers due to its two dimensional assemblage. This results to coherently support how this book is a good representative example of its genre. When it comes to the uses this book, I would apply it with children by reading the book aloud, that way the children’s character development can be enhanced and enriched.

Joy Colclasure

This is one of my all time favorite books. Ezra Jack Keats is one of my favorite authors, I like every single one of his books. This book has colorful, fun pictures in it. I think children can relate so much to the character Peter in the book. Children can also relate to this book if they have ever went outside and played in snow. This book even throws in some good opposites and has great descriptive words. This is the perfect book to read when you are doing the winter theme in your classroom.Extension Activity: After reading this book I will ask the children to join me in a literacy snowball fight. I will have pre-made pieces of balled up paper ready to go. Each paper will have a letter of the alphabet on it, some uppercase and some lowercase. I will only do enough letters for the number of children I have but will add the other letters the next time we play. The children will each grab a paper snowball and gently throw them at each other. Each child will pick a snowball up and find the partner with the same letter, one child will have the uppercase and the other child will have the lowercase. After the children find thier partner, they will team up and come up with some words that begin with the letter that they have. I will write down the words they say next to the alphabet on a piece of chart paper.


the illustrations alone in this book make it worth having.

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