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Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Snowing, written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. Holiday House, Thomas Allen & Son. 2011. $21.95 ages 3 and up

"Ice crystals of all shapes and sizes float into one another and join together to create a snowflake. Soon more and more ice crystals attach themselves, making the snowflake larger. When snowflakes get large and heavy enough, they fall from the clouds. It's snowing!"

In keeping with the quiet, gentle feeling that Kate Messner evokes in her lovely new book from my previous blog post, I also want to share Gail Gibbons' very informative book about that sparkly, soft precipitation soon to make our world so lovely.

She starts off by telling us about the water cycle and how droplets form in the clouds that so often fill the winter sky. Watching the cold air change those ice crystals into the beauty of snowflakes makes the process so clear for young readers. Then seeing the family, red-cheeked and glowing, welcome snow with open arms may help to change our feelings about the approaching season.

Children in early years classrooms will learn a lot about snow in this fact-filled, well-illustrated piece of nonfiction. The author even includes geography by sharing with her audience the fact that snow falls on all seven continents. A map of the world plots exactly where, while a double page spread with panels for each of those continents provides a fact that might surprise.

She then talks about the ways that snow is not always gentle. It might be flurries; but it might also fall as sleet, or in a severe snowstorm. It could even be as a blizzard which adds a very real element of danger. Listening to weather watchers and meteorologists can help safely prepare people to wait it the roads and at home, if possible. The warnings vary in severity but each poses a risk to those living in the watch area.

Not much is left out of this detailed piece of nonfiction. The author fills the pages with captions and labels that make for clear understanding of the concepts being shared. She makes it a family story, with the same group experiencing much of the action. She finishes by explaining how much fun snow can really be, and by giving instructions for taking close-up looks at snowflakes. On the final page Gail Gibbons presents text boxes that offer more tidbits and two websites that might be used to get weather for the United States and one for Canada.  A worthy addition to any collection involving seasons, the water cycle and just plain fun in the snow!

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