Written by Jimmy Fallon, Illustrated by Adam Stower
Dutton Children’s Books, 2005
Snow day! School’s closed!
What made this author famous? Jimmy Fallon is a comedian who was featured on Saturday Night Live for six years and went on to host Late Night and the Tonight Show.
A boy and his younger sister see other kids outside having a snowball fight and they can’t wait to join in. They bundle up in boots and snowsuits and hurry outside (skipping breakfast) to build a fort and prepare snowballs. For a while, it seems that nothing is happening, but then the neighborhood kids attack and a full snowball fight ensues. He runs out of snowballs and isn’t sure what to do as the other kids approach. Then his younger sister fires up the snowball throwing machine she’s been putting together and the two of them emerge triumphant. She lobs a few of the remaining snowballs at him as they head back home, but then they sit together in front of the fire, warming up with some cocoa. When she falls asleep, he sneaks outside to get one snowball to keep in reserve and puts it in the freezer for later.
The text of this book is a rewritten version of a song (“Snowball”) from author Jimmy Fallon’s 2002 debut comedy and music album, Bathroom Wall. (You can easily find a video of him performing the song on YouTube.) Most of the original song remains intact, but extra verses have been added to create more of a story and include the character of the little sister. I like the way she is portrayed in the book, as his friend and ally rather than the stereotypical ‘bratty kid sister’ that shows up in so many books. The sparring between them at the story’s end is all in good fun and is definitely representative of many sibling relationships in real life.
In fact, one of my favorite elements of Adam Stower’s artwork is the way that the whole battle feels good-natured and fun, with the emphasis on play rather than competition. The kids are all drawn with smiling faces, even when they’ve been knocked down by snowballs. And there are lots of fun little things to notice, too, such as the strainer hat that the main character wears to protect his head and the nifty snowball machine that his sister makes from a tricycle and teacups. This book will take you back to the excitement of snow days and the thrill of a day spent playing with all the energy you’ve got.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that before you have to drive in it or shovel it or worry about it doing damage to your house…snow can be a lot of fun.