Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai

A young rabbit stays home from kindergarten because it snows all day. The child, who leaps out of bed wearing yellow pyjamas, could be either male or female and the apartment setting could be in any city where it snows. There are only subtle clues that it is actually Japan, like shape of the electrical outlet on the wall. I found it particularly charming that the child makes a snow dumpling outside.

It is a quiet, cozy day spent cooped up indoors until, finally, the mother relents and allows for an excursion into the silent streets after the snow stops, even though it is bedtime. The contrast between inside and outside is beautifully done in Sakai's atmospheric paintings, which are created on a black ground.

The action happening off-scene is that the father cannot get home because his airplane is grounded. This scene is illustrated on the title page; an excellent way to avoid breaking the mood in the body of the text. The final line maintains the gently reassuring tone: "Daddy will be home tomorrow, because it stopped snowing." Ages 3 - 6.

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