Tonight’s review is the second of our seasonal Christmas picture books and is of When it Snows, by Richard Collingridge.
image courtesy of richardcollingridge.blogspot.com
What it’s about (from the publishers): When it snows everything stops. But one small boy and his teddy will not let it stop them. Join them on their magical adventure…
Holly’s review (contains a spoiler!): This book is about a little boy who tells a story about snow. And at the end it turns out he was reading his favourite story.
I think the story was very good and I particularly like the bit at the end about him reading his story book. I think the words in this were good too but for me there was not enough lines and I think that’s because I read bigger and older books now. But I think the story line was a brilliant one and it’s a good Christmas story.
The drawings in this book were amazing. I can’t describe how beautiful they were. They were so vivid to me and the way they were painted was wonderful. To me, these pictures seemed real and were so calming.
In conclusion, I think this book was really good, especially for younger children, but for me I would have liked even more story. The pictures were amazing and I think they really compliment the story.
Sam’s review: The cover of When it Snows is just so inviting. The soft pastels and warmth that leap from the page do feel comforting, as Holly has said, and give the impression that this story is one about magic. And indeed this is the case, as it soon becomes obvious that the world in which the boy lives is quite surreal. The reader takes this in unquestioningly – the boy and his friends ride polar bears and other animals to get around because the normal modes of transport are stuck. They venture ‘to the place where the snowmen live’, and the two worlds mingle in a wonderful and magical way. Interestingly, as night falls, the boy finds himself alone, and no mention is made of where his friends are. In traditional fairytale style and imagery, he is lured into a dark forest by a bright light. Because children and adult readers will be familiar with fairy tales the expectation is set that he will find this a threatening place, and a wolf is waiting for him in the shadows. However, this is not a land to be feared, as he meets the Queen of the Poles, who takes him to a land of glowing fairies, elves, a giant reindeer and Father Christmas. So it’s a fantastic amalgamation of traditional tales, both with a Christmas theme and without, that culminates in the statement that this is all possible ‘because my favourite book takes me there’.
I loved this book. I know Holly would have liked more words because I think she is at that age where it’s quite a status thing to read longer novels and picture books might be seen as a little bit too young. However, in picture books, each word must count in a way that is more important, arguably, than in novels. With such a limited amount of text, each word must have a place and this book feels almost poem-like in its narrative.
Alongside that are Collingridge’s stunning illustrations, full of soft palettes and blurred lines, all adding to the dreamlike quality. Apart from the brief moment in the dark forest, the pages are filled with warmth and comfort which children will delight in. This is a truly individual style of illustrating and one that I look forward to seeing more of in the future.
A lovely Christmas present for any child!
Please note that while we were sent a review copy of this book, we were under no obligation to read or review it, and all opinions are entirely our own.