Written and Illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow Books, 2003
Soft as our nests when day has gone,
Snow came singing a silent song.
The plot in a nutshell: Two kids look for a runaway dog and hear all the music in the snow around them
The book opens with pictures of snow falling on a town. Then we see a variety of animals and two people sleeping in their beds or nests as the snow piles up. The day breaks on a snow covered town and as a boy opens the door to look at the snow, his dog runs past him and takes off. A deer, a squirrel and a bird walk through the snow and leave tracks. The boy, looking for his dog, meets up with a friend and they go off together to look for him. Cars and trucks go by and then the sun comes out, melting the snow. The boy finds his dog and they head home. Later that night, it starts to snow again.
The description of the story is pretty basic, but the book isn’t really focused on the plot. It really focuses on the sounds that all these things make and the way they combine to turn a snow day into a symphony. It actually starts on the book’s end papers, where snowflakes are drawn as parts of musical notes. The sound that falling snow makes is ‘peth.’ Yep, I think that’s about right. Some parts are even written as sheet music, such as the dog walking through the snow, with ‘huffs’ of breath and the jingle of his tags.
Author/illustrator Lynne Rae Perkins unfolds this story/song very poetically, even letting the positioning of the text get into the act. The artwork, done in pen and ink and watercolor, makes good use of the snowy white space on many pages, showing us just the tracks of animals or cars moving through. I particularly like the way that the story begins and ends with a snowy night. This would be a great book to read on a snowy night at your own house.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there are all kinds of music in the world and some of it is best enjoyed on quiet snowy days.